CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team captured outrage spilling over as protestors confronted a housing court judge about a man sent to jail for not fixing up a home.
Judge W. Moná Scott showed up to a city council budget hearing and she found activists waiting; the I-Team too.
We had hard questions, and the protestors shouted, “Shame on you,” and “Let Jeff go! Let Jeff go!”
The judge had avoided our camera and protestors for a week, despite a firestorm surrounding the case of Jeffrey Ivey.
Last month, Judge Scott sent Ivey to jail for three months for not following court orders to make repairs at a home along East Boulevard. The case had dragged on for years. But the jail term sparked a fury among Ivey’s friends, activists and even some city council members. They wonder why a property owner would get sent to jail when many violent criminals do not get locked up.
As the judge walked into city hall, the I-Team asked, “What can you tell us about the Jeffrey Ivey case?”
When she didn’t answer, we also asked, “Can you just tell us how many corporate landlords, or slum landlords, you’ve thrown in jail?”
She also didn’t respond to that question.
Among those standing by and watching were 94-year-old Rev. E. Theophilus Caviness from Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church.
“And, this lady lacks compassion. She lacks concern,” the reverend said. “She’s there, keeping him there, in spite of the fact that he wants to get out and fix the house.”
The judge didn’t answer questions from us or the protestors.
At the council hearing, she read a statement that said, in part, “One cannot and should not tell a judge what they think they should do on a matter, or expect a judge to talk to them personally.”
The I-Team showed you the judge last year only threw three other people in jail for 10 to 15 days — no big landlords. At that council hearing, the judge also claimed she doesn’t have much power over corporate landlords.
As she left the hearing, a crowd chanted, “How do you sleep at night? How do you sleep at night? How do you sleep at night?”
Ultimately, the judge and a bailiff and other housing court workers made their way into elevators and left.
In the meantime, Ivey continues to serve a 90-day jail sentence. His next hearing is not until May.
Last week, civil rights attorney Marcus Sidoti filed a motion asking the judge to cut short the sentence, but no ruling on that has been made.
His friends have started a GoFundMe to help him raise money to make the repairs.