A courtroom in Louisville, Kentucky, was moved to tears when the judge allowed an inmate to see his newborn baby for the first time (video below).
Judge Amber Wolf told WDRB that letting Jams Roeder see his son for the first time was “probably one of the best things” she’d ever done.
Roeder and his wife, Ashley, were both arrested and jailed for burglary and ordered by Wolf not to have contact with one another. Ashley was nearby at her husband’s hearing, holding the baby that’d been born 30 days earlier.
“I saw her try to hold the baby up when he came out for his case to be called with his attorney,” she said. “And I thought that he hadn’t seen that. And it occurred to me after we finished this case that he had not met his baby -- who was 30 days old -- and that he was not going to get an opportunity to meet his baby anytime in the near future."
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Wolf said in court that she was going to keep the meeting separate from Roeder’s case.
“I don't want you to say anything about your case at all,” she told Roeder at his hearing. “Don't say anything. Your lawyer is not present right now. But I understand that there is a chance that you're going to go back to Todd County, and your baby is a month old, and you haven't met that baby yet. Is that right?"
“Yes ma’am,” he replied.
Wolf asked Roeder’s wife to approach her husband, and she did so along with her 1-month-old daughter.
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“I know you have a no-contact order between you and Mrs. Roeder that I issued -- and I am not changing that,” she said. “I'm making a temporary exception right in front of me, on the record, so that you can meet this baby. This is your son."
The courtroom was overcome with emotion as Roeder held his son in his arms for several minutes, appearing to kiss him and hug him.
“Thank you for letting me be a part of that,” Wolf said to Ashley as she left the room.
Wolf said she simply felt compelled to let the young man meet his child in that moment.
“It wasn't really a judge thing,” she said. “I think it was just more of a human thing. He hadn’t met his baby. And I could see that his wife wanted him to see the baby. And I know from previous interactions from Mr. Roeder that he had been very concerned about being able to meet his baby prior to it being born. And I just saw an opportunity that I didn't want to squander."