NILES – If you're ever at the Berrien County Courthouse in Niles, you may want to watch your language. One woman's cursing landed her in jail for contempt of court -- even though she wasn't in a courtroom.
LaRue Ford, 49, of northwest Indiana has a master’s degree and no criminal record. She was in the county clerk’s office inside the courthouse trying to get some traffic fees cleared up. It was a frustrating process...during which she muttered a few profanities. Now she's sitting in jail.
"This was basically what happens when you try to fix your life out so you’re not a burden to society," said John Targowski, Ford's attorney, who's working with the ACLU on this case.
Ford was trying to get her Indiana driver's license so she could a job, but first she needed to take care of an unpaid Michigan traffic fine. She paid all $444 of it, but there was a $50 reinstatement fee that the Berrien County Clerk's Office in Niles overlooked and that led to a lot of confusion.