Local/State

Mom's supporters pack courtroom in custody case

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dozens of people packed a Wake County courtroom Thursday for a mom who's fighting for custody of her son.

Herlene Thomas' custody dispute has gone viral, and that didn't sit well with the judge in the case.

The judge said she was concerned about how the media blitz, both on TV news and social media, might have a horrible effect on the Shaun, the little boy at the center of this case.

There was little doubt that the crowd that packed into the courtroom not only wanted to show their support for Herlene Thomas' custody battle but also to let the judge in the case know how they feel.

The judge made it clear she had no plans to change her decision to force Herlene Thomas to share custody of the boy with his father, Joel Thomas, of Virginia.

However, the judge refused Joel Thomas' request to turn the boy over now instead of after Christmas because of the social media effort and two interviews done with ABC11.

The crowd listened to everything, including a lecture by the judge aimed at them, but none of them left the courtroom with a complete change of heart.

"On some of it, I guess I understand her concern, but what is a mother supposed to do whose losing the custody arrangement she currently has," said Mark Armstrong, a Herlene Thomas supporter. "I think Shaun's old enough to understand and it sounds like he's been protected from it thus far from hearing anything.  So I don't think it would have the negative impact that she would think."

Herlene Thomas plans to appeal the judge's decision in the custody case. However, that won't happen before the current joint custody ruling begins.

Click here to see the Facebook page for Shaun and Herlene.

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wake county, local/state, ed crump
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