Charlotte mom jailed attempting to ‘defend’ son in custody battle, youngster exams constructive for medicine anyway
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Nearly three months after a Mecklenburg County District Court Judge awarded temporary custody of a toddler to his father, the child failed a drug test.
The child’s mother spent 11 days in the county jail for refusing to follow a judge’s order to hand her son over to his father for a scheduled visitation.
Jacque Kent says she refused to let her son visit his father because she suspected her child’s father, Joshua Graham, was still using drugs and abusing alcohol.
- A private investigator captured video of Joshua Graham smoking what Graham later admitted was “marijuana or CBD” in a Publix grocery store parking lot in Cornelius on June 15, 2022. (Credit: Carolina Surveillance and Investigations)
- A private investigator watched Joshua Graham getting into his car around 3 pm on June 15, 2022 and drive to a grocery store parking lot where the investigator video recorded Graham smoking what Graham later admitted under oath was “marijuana or CBD” during a July 1 court hearing. (Credit: Carolina Surveillance and Investigations)
- Jacque Kent contended Joshua Graham was continuing to abuse alcohol after he tested in 2021 that he did not. A private process server took this photograph of Graham at his home which depicts a beer can on Graham’s front porch. Kent’s attorney included the photograph in an evidence exhibit in the custody case. (Credit: Graham v. Kent)
- Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Gary Henderson sentenced Jacque Kent to nine days in jail in 2021 after finding her in criminal contempt of court. Kent would not allow Joshua Graham to visit his son, claiming Graham had not “proven” his sobriety at the time. (Source: Mecklenburg County Detention Center)
- Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Sean Smith sentenced Jacque Kent to 60 days in jail in April 2022 on criminal contempt charges over Kent’s continued refusal to allow her son’s father to visit the child. Kent was freed two days later on a $50,000 bond. (Source: Mecklenburg County Detention Center)
- Jacque Kent’s attorney, Anastasia Cowan (left), filed emergency custody motions in June, including the private investigator’s video evidence. Judge Sean Smith denied the motion, writing, “No nexus established in allegations to child.” Smith later explained he didn’t think Graham’s drug use had an impact on his ability to care for his child under Smith’s temporary custody order issued in April 2022. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Joshua Graham admitted in a July 1, 2022 hearing that was the person in the video the private investigator recorded from June 15. Graham said he couldn’t remember whether he was smoking marijuana at the time or whether he was smoking CBD in the pipe. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Joshua Graham was ordered to submit a hair follicle drug test six days after the private investigator recorded him smoking something in a grocery store parking lot. Graham’s drug test result shows positive for THC at 3.8 pg/mg. (Source: Graham v. Kent)
- During the July 1 hearing, Judge Sean Smith told Jacque Kent’s attorney he would order additional drug evaluations for Joshua Graham after the failed drug test. However, Smith’s handwritten order does not show any further drug testing for Graham. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Judge Sean Smith did not change his order during the July 1 hearing placing the couple’s three-year-old son with Josh Graham. Smith did allow Jacque Kent unsupervised visitation for 11 hours over the next two weeks. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Judge Sean Smith declined an interview with Queen City News, citing “judicial ethics” preventing him from discussing the case. Within hours of Smith’s denial, the judge notified the attorneys in the case he was removing himself. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- This is a copy of Judge Sean Smith’s email sent to Joshua Graham and Jacque Kent’s attorneys on July 13, 2022 notifying the parties he was removing himself from the case. (Source: Graham v. Kent)
- During her second visitation on July 7, Jacque Kent took her son to a lab in Cornelius to have him drug tested. The test was a hair follicle test, which covers a longer span of time than a urine test. The results were positive for marijuana. Kent’s attorney filed an emergency custody motion on July 15 and a new family court judge assigned to the case approved it that day. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Roman Kent’s drug test result shows a marijuana level of six times higher than the cutoff level used in the drug test. (Source: Jacques Kent)
- Jacque Kent said she’s scheduled an appointment with a pediatrician to determine what to do about the level of drugs discovered in her son in the July 7, 2022 drug test. (WJZY Photo/Jody Barr)
- Joshua Graham was arrested and charged with violating the terms of a domestic violence protective order on March 30, 2021. This was the first of three such arrests for Graham. (Source: Mecklenburg County Detention Center)
- Joshua Graham was arrested and charged with violating the terms of a domestic violence protective order on August 29, 2021. This was the final of three such arrests for Graham. (Source: Mecklenburg County Detention Center)
- Weeks after Joshua Graham filed a custody petition in December 2019, a judge ordered Graham and Jacque Kent to submit to drug testing on Jan. 27, 2022. Kent’s hair follicle test showed negative for drugs in a 12-panel test. (Source: Graham v. Kent)
- Weeks after Joshua Graham filed a custody petition in December 2019, a judge ordered Graham and Jacque Kent to submit to drug testing on Jan. 27, 2022. Graham’s hair follicle test showed positive for drugs with a 10.89 pg/mg result for TCH. (Source: Graham v. Kent)
In April, Judge Sean Smith sentenced Kent to 60 days in the county jail, finding her in criminal contempt of the visitation order after Graham’s attorney, Steve DeCillis filed multiple contempt motions against Kent.
Kent served two days before her family could come up with the $50,000 bond Smith imposed at the April hearing.
Once freed, Kent hired a private investigator to track Graham and to figure out whether Graham was abusing alcohol and drugs and whether he was putting their son at risk. It took the investigator a matter of days before video recorded Graham in a grocery store parking lot using drugs.
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Despite the private investigator’s surveillance video, a failed drug test, allegations of domestic violence, violations of a protective order, the judge handed the couple’s son over to Graham in a temporary custody agreement.
Now, three months later, the toddler tested positive for drugs, and Kent could still face jail time over the contempt charges.
After Queen City News Chief Investigator Jody Barr contacted Judge Smith detailing what we were preparing to report in our ‘Order of Protection’ investigation, the judge removed himself from the case and neither Joshua Graham nor his attorney responded to requests for interviews.