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Judge Camille <I>McGee</I> Kelley

Judge Camille McGee Kelley

Birth
Trenton, Gibson County, Tennessee, USA
Death 28 Jan 1955 (aged 75)
Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Plot Section 11, Plot 138
Memorial ID 38731655 · View Source
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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.


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  • Created by: Neil Loftiss
  • Added: 25 Jun 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 38731655
  • Neil Loftiss
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Camille McGee Kelley (13 Oct 1879–28 Jan 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 38731655, citing Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Neil Loftiss (contributor 47136115) .