A Missouri man has been charged with making racist and abusive threats against a judge, who sought a protective order after the man said he had staked out the Jackson County courthouse and followed people home, the Jackson County Prosecutor said Wednesday.

The 42-year-old defendant, of Independence, was charged Tuesday with tampering with a judicial officer and harassment motivated by discrimination. The felony charges each carry a possible sentence of seven years in prison. He was being held Wednesday without bond. Online court records do not name an attorney for him.

Michael Deblois, who is white, is accused of making 15 to 17 calls on Monday and Tuesday to the courthouse threatening the judge, who is Black, according to court affidavits. The judge, who works in the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County, was not identified in the complaint.

Jalilah Otto is listed as the presiding judge for the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Mo. according to https://www.16thcircuit.org/

Judge Jalilah Otto of Division 15 began her two-year term as the administrative judge of the Court in January, 2022.

“In the 16th Circuit's nearly 200-year history, Judge Otto is the first African American
Judge to be elected to the position of Presiding Judge. For that matter, she is only the fourth woman to serve in this important role,” said Judge J. Dale Youngs at the time. “We are proud to welcome and support our colleague and friend as she begins her historic term as our Presiding Judge.”

According to the complaint, a woman who answered the phone at the judge’s office told authorities Deblois left his name and phone number, was “angry, hateful and harassing,” and used frequent profanity and racial slurs.

It was not clear exactly what Deblois was upset about but his messages cited in the affidavit mention a canceled court hearing, government corruption and having his home foreclosed by a “fraudulent” homeowners association.

In one message, Deblois said “Eye for an eye. Makes you wonder what I have planned,” according to the complaint.

The judge requested a protective order on Tuesday, citing concern for the safety of his staff and family.

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