Restraining order bars Mid-South judge from releasing inmates

There are new developments for a Mid-South judge under fire for letting some prisoners out of jail early.

Fayette County Judge Mike Whitaker now faces a restraining order barring him from releasing any more inmates.

Whitaker has only held the bench for the past six months. But in just a short time, he's made quite a ripple with a lawsuit, injunctions, and now a restraining order.

Whitaker caused quite a stir when he put out a memo instructing law enforcement not to charge suspects with any more than two warrants on any single event saying it creates too much paperwork.

Now, Judge Whitaker has new papers in his hands. It's a restraining order reversing those decisions.

"Prevents him from releasing prisoners on their own recognizance. It's pretty self-explanatory," says Circuit Court Clerk Connie Kelley.

The restraining order comes after a lawsuit filed by District Attorney Mike Dunavant claimed Whitaker's decisions were illegal.

Judge Whitaker said the lawsuit had no teeth.

"It's not shocking or anything - it's a good way to dispute. If we got a dispute we need to settle - if I'm wrong I'll change. It's no problem. Doesn't offend me. Mike and I are still good buddies," said Whitaker.

Whitaker added, "I try as a judge to limit myself to three mistakes a week and one colossal screw-up a month. If I can keep it in that range I'm doing all right."

Whitaker still feels the same way about this new restraining order. He said he still believes his decisions were just -- but he says you can't please all the people all of the time.

A hearing or mediation hasn't been set to address the restraining order.


to to email Blair Simmons.