Nashville Judge Imprisons 15-year-old During Parent’s Custody Dispute

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Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Philip Smith has had his share of controversy, including this video where he berated a lawyer from the bench in May. In a more recent decision, he imprisoned a 15-year-old child during his parent’s post-divorce custody proceedings, because the 15-year-old refused to unlock his phone for the court, and get in between his two feuding parents, in what has become a series of heated court battles, ongoing since the child was ten.

On July 26th, just days before school would be starting for the year, the 15-year-old child was called as a witness during a hearing on a petition to modify the parenting plan between his two parents. Judge Philip Smith ordered the child to unlock his cell phone during the testimony, and he refused to do so. Upon continued refusal to unlock his cell phone, and not wanting to get in the middle of his parent’s divorce and custody battle, the judge ordered him in contempt of court, and took him into custody, and imprisoned him in the juvenile detention center for a period of 6 months, or until he unlocked the phone, whichever came first – the judge then continued, and taxed the costs of this proceeding to the 15-year-old juvenile.

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The father of the child petitioned the court for early release of the child on August 6th, and he was ordered released to the possession of the father, at Noon on that day. During that hearing, the child’s Guardian Ad Litem was also relieved from his duties.

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