Call Out Judge Who Failed to Deliver Justice to Habitual Animal Abuser
** Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated that Sixth Circuit Court Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders presided over the trial and sentencing of serial animal abuser Charoyd Henrence Bell. It was Sixth Circuit Court Judge Forrest "Al" Johnson who presided. We offer our profuse apologies to Judge Sanders. Our Justice for Animals campaigner received inaccurate information from three separate sources, each naming Judge Sanders as the presiding judge in Bell's case. **
The time has come for Charoyd Henrence Bell, infamous for his repeated abuse of animals, to be brought to justice for his horrific acts of cruelty. The justice system has failed to address Bell's crimes against animals appropriately, so we must shine a spotlight on Mississippi Sixth District Judge Forest "Al" Johnson for his negligent and short-sighted failure to deliver justice for Bell's latest abominable crime of dog-fighting.
In March of 2016, the City of Natchez, Mississippi was presented with disgusting photos that Bell posted on social media displaying himself and another man tormenting newly born puppies, dangling them by their tails and ears. Bell wasn't prosecuted for "carrying a creature in a cruel manner," despite clear evidence. Bell reportedly told law enforcement he did this to determine "if it's a good dog or not." These photos blatantly contradict the Natchez City prosecutor's seemingly baseless decision not to prosecute Bell. Bell's behavior clearly was an indicator that Bell was involved in dog-fighting.
On May 11, 2017, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten arrested Bell and co-defendants Georgia Ivrione Chapman, a resident at Bell's address, and Damion Green, a man who was actively handling a dog at the time of the bust, for dog-fighting. In Defense of Animals subsequently presented an award to Sheriff Patten for his handling of the case and his clear concern for the animals involved.
Just a few weeks later, on July 31, 2018, multiple dogs were found on Bell's property who suffered from scarring and maiming injuries, some with flesh, bones, and tendons exposed. District Attorney Ronnie Harper chose to prosecute Bell for dog-fighting but according to the court, did not charge him with larceny for possessing ten stolen dogs. Chapman and Green's cases are pending.
Sixth District Circuit Judge Forrest "Al" Johnson gave Bell time served, a fourteen-month sentence, and five years of probation. Sheriff Patten told In Defense of Animals that Bell was also given a one-year sentence of house arrest, but did he did not receive a fine even though the statute at the time of his arrest allowed for a fine of $1,000 - $5,000.
Judge Johnson was aware that Senator Bob Dearing of his district had successfully passed an amendment to MS § 97-41-19, which now includes penalties of a maximum sentence of ten years and/or a $10.000 fine. In Johnson's failure to fine Bell, he violated the will of the people in sentencing abhorrent criminals and, in turn, encouraged more individuals to commit similar acts without fear of punishment.
What YOU Can Do
Please help us remind Judge Johnson that he is a civil servant who is responsible for ensuring that animal abusing criminals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Please sign and share our letter to Circuit Judge Johnson.by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page.