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Judge Camille McGee Kelley
Birth: Oct., 1879
Trenton
Gibson County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Jan. 28, 1955
Little Rock
Pulaski County
Arkansas, USA

Author, Juvenile Court Judge. She wrote three books regarding handling problem children in the juvenile court system, "Kellygrams" , "A Friend in Court" and "Delinquent Angels". She was the Juvenile Court Judge in Shelby County, Tennessee from 1920 to 1950. Known as the "Little Irish Judge", she never wore a robe in court, opting for colorful dresses, jewels and always a flower pinned to her shoulder. She was quoted as saying "Robes would scare the children to death. They're not so timid when they appear before me and see that I am wearing a flower".
Her formula in dealing with delinquents was simple: "We try the boy, not his offense. We seek to take away from him nothing but his mistakes". She was often quoted as saying that juvenile justice should be tempered with a sympathetic understanding of human problems. Shortly after she retired, she said favorable results were obtained in 85 to 90 percent of the 50,000 cases she had handled.

Hallmark Productions was producing a movie based on her book, "Delinquent Angels", but suspended production after her resignation from the bench in November, 1950, in a storm of controversy and charges after the results of a special investigation ordered by Governor Gordon Browning of the State of Tennessee was released. The investigation surrounded illegal adoptions-for-profit by Miss Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. It charged that approximately 20% of the illegal adoptions at the home were funneled through Kelley's court, where she would remove parental rights and provide Tann with documents to place the children as she deemed appropriate.

Judge Kelley was never prosecuted for any crimes associated with the home. She died at her sons home, Little Rock Arkansas attorney Heiskell Kelley, after complications due to a stroke.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  John Preston McGee (1835 - 1890)
  Virginia Candace Elder McGee (1844 - ____)
 
 Spouse:
  Thomas Fitzgerald Kelley (1873 - 1928)
 
 Children:
  Heiskell B. Kelley (1904 - 1979)*
  Thomas Fitzgerald "Gerald" Kelley (1906 - 1939)*
  Evelyn Camille Kelley (1910 - 1922)*
 
 Siblings:
  Howard Hawthorne McGee (1867 - 1895)*
  Babbington McCauley McGee (1869 - 1926)*
  Genevieve McGee McGehee (1871 - 1897)*
  Camille McGee Kelley (1879 - 1955)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown
Memphis
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA
Plot: Section 11, Plot 138
 
Created by: Neil Loftiss
Record added: Jun 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38731655
Judge Camille <i>McGee</i> Kelley
Added by: Neil Loftiss
 
Judge Camille <i>McGee</i> Kelley
Added by: Neil Loftiss
 
Judge Camille <i>McGee</i> Kelley
Added by: Neil Loftiss
 
 
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Saw on the history channel about your past. Wow!!
- CAMERA GUY
 Added: Apr. 16, 2014
I believe Camille Kelly was Georgia Tann's partner in crime. Tann could not pull off the adoptions without her. Camille Kelly was a hated woman in Memphis and those who remember her still harbor resentment for the kids she ripped from the arms of their p...(Read more)
- Margie Daniels
 Added: Aug. 12, 2013
May God have mercy on your soul, Ma'am.
- Pinoy Pride
 Added: May. 2, 2013
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