Judge takes another day to decide if Ford must report to prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Judge takes another day to decide if Ford must report to prison

A federal judge will take another day to decide whether former state Sen. John Ford should remain free after his bribery conviction.

The 65-year-old Ford was convicted last year in Memphis of taking $55,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as dishonest businessmen. He was scheduled to report to a Texas prison in December but was granted a delay by Judge J. Daniel Breen.

Ford successfully argued in November that locking him up would leave his minor children without either parent because his ex-wife, Tamara Mitchell-Ford, is in jail on a drunken-driving conviction.

In court Wednesday, Ford said his four children were currently living at Tamara's home while she is in jail.  Ford said her home is about to be foreclosed on, and he has not been able to find a big enough home for his children to stay in while he is in prison.

The judge asked how long Mitchell-Ford would be behind bars, but nobody in the courtroom could answer that question.  Breen continued the hearing until Thursday so her lawyer can discuss when she may be released from a Shelby County penal farm.

"If you've got a single parent, whose got to serve a sentence, then obviously the children are going to be without a parent," Ford's attorney, Robert Brooks, said outside the courtroom.  "But when you've got two parents that have to serve a sentence and one of them at least has a relatively short sentence to serve, there is no reason why the children should be left without at parent."

Prosecutors accuse Ford of playing with the system, and getting preferential treatment.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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