Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton sent a strong message that the violation of court orders will not be tolerated when he ordered the incarceration of Jay's Recycling Owner James Sharpshair Monday morning for 20 days for contempt of court.
In August Jay's Recycling was ordered by Benton to cease and desist its operations after finding that the scrap metal yard was in violation of zoning ordinances.
The industrial operation is located on land zoned for residential purposes.
Benton's August interlocutory order also found that the scrap metal yard constituted a substantial threat to local residents and was a public nuisance.
Though the order specified that Sharpshair was prohibited from all junkyard business including the purchasing, storing and transporting of scrap metals, old cars, appliances and other commodities at Jay's Recycling on Roseberry Road, some type of operation was still in business earlier this month when a large tractor trailer truck carrying a load of yellow storage bins was seen entering the property.
The incarceration order of Sharpshair specified that he was to be held for 20 days or until further order of the court. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sharpshair was still being held at the Newton County Detention Center.
Simon Bloom, attorney for Sharpshair, said he was surprised that Benton ordered the incarceration.
"I've tried countless land use disputes and dozens of real estate disputes and have never seen a judge come down on a party as hard as happened here," Bloom said.
Bloom said he has filed a motion to amend the incarceration order. The order asks that the judge reduce or suspend Sharpshair's jail time and permit the clearance of the containers upon his release Bloom said.
"We are hopeful that a combination of cooperation from the county attorney and the judge's better judgment will result in an order that is closer to the one we have filed," Bloom said.
James Griffin, an attorney trying the case on behalf of Newton County, declined to comment on Sharpshair's incarceration.
According to Bloom, Sharpshair was under the impression that it was alright for him to transport the containers to and from Jay's Recycling.
Roseberry Road resident Paul Autry, whose home is located adjacent to Jay's Recycling, said that the former scrap yard was still full of yellow bins on Tuesday.
"We don't know where it is going to go from here," Autry said. "We won't be satisfied until the fill is conformed to what it is zoned for. I won't be satisfied until everything in the fill gone."