Disorder in the court

When no one showed up in Genesee County Probate Judge Jennie Barkey’s courtroom Wednesday for a scheduled hearing to appoint a personal representative for Bulah Lee Reid’s estate, Barkey dismissed the case.

Reid’s family was apparently trying for an out-of-court settlement in the hallway.

Barkey told The Flint Journal

“I see out in the hallway all these people fighting, especially these two guys are fighting,” she said.

No one was seriously hurt but Barkey found Calvin Stewart Jr., 59, of Burton, and his brother-in-law, Gregory Reid, 47, of Flint, in direct contempt of court after the fight and sentenced them to three days in the Genesee County Jail.

“I told them I’m not having this in my house,” said Barkey.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said the incident started and ended quickly, but caused a lot of noise when a bench was pushed into a wall.

He commended the way Barkey handled the outburst.

“She handled it quickly and she was firm,” said Pickell. “She let everyone know you’re not going to come to her court and act like morons.”

The family feud outside Barkey’s courtroom is the fourth instance this year of persons taking matters into their own hands in and around Genesee County courts.

Pickell said the latest instance and the previous three demonstrate that respect for the court system has broken down, he said. In June, July and late November, families of homicide victims got into altercations with the suspects’ families. The June incident occurred inside Flint District Court Judge Tracy Collier-Nix’s courtroom, July’s occurred outside of Genesee Circuit Court Judge Richard B. Yuille’s courtroom and the November incident occurred in the Genesee Circuit Court’s parking lot.