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Southfield Woman Arrives Late To Court, Gets Thrown In Jail

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - A Southfield woman learned the hard way that judges don't care much for tardiness -- or excuses.

"If court starts at 8:30, you better be there at 8:30 -- especially if you're charged with arson," said WWJ Legal Analyst Langton.

Rashidah Muhammad was free on bond after being charged with setting a house on fire. She was due to appear in Judge David Groner's courtroom Thursday morning, but she was an hour-and-a-half late.

When Groner asked her why she was late, Muhammad said she left her house around 8:45 a.m. -- 15 minutes after court started -- and then she said she got stuck in traffic. She then explained to the judge that she arranged her ride to the court at the last minute.

Groner, who was clearly unmoved by all the excuses, asked Muhammad if she won a hypothetical $1,000 cash prize would she be late to pick that up -- and she responded that she didn't know.

At that point, a frustrated Groner told Muhammad that she wasn't taking the matter seriously enough and he revoked her bond, ordering her to jail. She will now spend at least 48 hours behind bars before her next court hearing.

"Is it legal? It is right? Well, the judge has a lot of discretion when setting bond," said Langton. "I think that people who don't respect the court -- the bigger problem here is she lied to the judge about the excuses why she was late, and I think that's what set the judge off.

Langton offered this advice to anyone who has a court appearance coming up: "Don't lie to the judge -- that's what got her in trouble. Judges put people in jail, that's the power they have. Take court seriously."

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