The Kentucky judge who made news when she became angry over a female inmate led into court without pants is back in the spotlight after she allowed a male inmate to meet his 1-month-old son for the first time.
Jefferson County Judge Amber Wolf said the meeting was “probably one of the best things I’ve done.”
She invited Ashley Roeder to bring her newborn into the courtroom so her husband, James Roeder, could meet his baby.
Both are charged with burglary for allegedly breaking into a warehouse where James Roeder once worked and stealing six flat-screen televisions valued at more than $6,000, according to court records.
They have pleaded not guilty.
"I don't want you to say anything about your case at all," Wolf told James Roeder, according to courtroom video. "Don't say anything. Your lawyer is not present right now. But I understand that there is a chance that you're going to go back to Todd County, and your baby is a month old, and you haven't met that baby yet. Is that right?"
"Yes ma’am," the defendant said.
“Mrs. Roeder, do you want to come up here?” the judge asked.
Under a court order, the couple is barred from having any contact but Wolf made an exception so James Roeder could meet his baby.
In front of the judge, Ashley Roeder silently placed their child in her husband’s arms and stepped back.
The new dad cradled his son for few minutes as the judge smiled and his wife wiped away tears.
“This is your son,” Judge Wolf told him.
As he handed the newborn back, the father wiped his face with the top of his orange jumpsuit. The judge passed around tissues.
“Give everybody some,” she said.
“I think it was just more of a human thing,” the judge told WDRB-TV afterward. “He hadn’t met his baby. And I could see that his wife wanted him to see the baby. And I know from previous interactions from Mr. Roeder that he had been very concerned about being able to meet his baby … I just saw an opportunity that I didn’t want to squander.”
Late last month, Wolf was incredulous when a female suspect entered her court without pants. The woman’s attorney told the judge her client had been denied pants and feminine hygiene products by jail guards.
The judge used her cell phone to call correction officials. “What the hell is going on?” she said into the phone. “I’m holding her here until she is dressed appropriately to go back to jail. This is outrageous.
A jumpsuit was brought to the courtroom.
Louisville corrections employees are investigating the incident, authorities said.