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Judge threatens to find Indiana mayor in contempt

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A judge threatened to find a central Indiana mayor in contempt of court over a dispute about pipes blocking a courthouse entrance.

The county sheriff led Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight to the office of Howard County Superior Judge William Menges on Tuesday afternoon, but Goodnight was allowed to go free soon afterward once crews moved concrete pipes for a pedestrian trail project, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Goodnight said the judge didn't call him or other city officials and instead chose "to engage in political theater."

"What this boils down to is you have a judge that's on an ego trip," Goodnight said.

The Associated Press left a telephone message Wednesday seeking comment from Menges at the judge's office, but a staffer said the judge wouldn't be doing interviews.

The contempt of court order issued Tuesday by Menges said the mayor had given directions for a contractor to place the pipes so they blocked a courthouse drive and prevent county crews from spreading stone to reopen the route so "potentially dangerous inmates" could be brought to court hearings this week.

Menges wrote that Goodnight's "actions were intentional and solely for the purpose of disrupting the regular proceedings of the court."

Goodnight said he received a text message from a county commissioner Tuesday morning about clearing the drive and was told that moving the pipes that afternoon wouldn't be a problem. Goodnight said he heard nothing more until Sheriff Steve Rogers arrived at his office with orders for him to appear before the judge.

Rogers said Goodnight was never placed in handcuffs or booked into jail.

"He was told he'd be held in the jail if he didn't comply," Rogers said. "He did (comply) and he was released."

Goodnight, a Democrat, said he didn't know a reason for the reaction by Menges, a former county Republican Party chairman.

"This is the judge's attempt to embarrass me," Goodnight said. "Unfortunately, he's embarrassed himself and the people of Howard County."

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