Legal Ethics

Judge Jails Attorney for Contempt, Says He Must Ante Up and Account for $3M in Guardianship Funds

A Mississippi judge has jailed a Rankin County lawyer for contempt, saying he will stay there until he deposits guardianship funds into a court registry and provides a complete accounting for the $3 million inherited by a teenager from his mother over a decade ago.

Hinds County Chancery Judge Dwayne Thomas took action after a hearing Wednesday. He said in a court order that attorney Michael J. Brown twice before within the past year failed to provide a complete accounting for expenses and funds concerning De Mon McClinton’s guardianship, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

The judge said in the order there is no record that Brown deposited the teen’s money into a bank, despite a 2000 court order requiring that he do so. However, records show Brown provided a $550,000 loan and personally borrowed another $507,745, the judge said. He also reportedly ordered Brown to repay a decade-old legal fee of nearly $400,000.

WLBT said the lawyer also is accused of forging two checks. Thomas has asked both the district attorney’s office and Mississippi attorney disciplinary officials to look into the matter.

The articles don’t include any comment from Brown or his lawyer.

McClinton, who works for WLBT, is the grandson of the late Aaron Henry, a civil rights leader.

A Jackson Jambalaya post provides additional details.

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