Posted by: Bill Jones | January 29, 2008

How (not) to Beat a Traffic Ticket

James Brown, the late energetic soul singer famous for such top ten hits as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” as well as his trademark dance routines (such as his famous one-legged shimmy), has been tagged with many different nicknames during his more than forty years in the music business: the Funky President, the Godfather of Soul, Soul Brother No. 1, the Ambassador of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, and Mr. Dynamite.brown It was his wife, however, who made the most creative use of one of these sobriquets, when it was offered in her defense in an attempt to beat misdemeanor traffic charges. On 3 September 1987, Brown’s wife Adrienne was stopped in Georgia and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, speeding, and criminal trespass. You know, the usual. She pleaded innocent to the charges, of course, but before her case came to trial in June 1988, her lawyer tried a novel defense: diplomatic immunity.

Back in 1986, the city of Augusta, Georgia, had held a James Brown Appreciation Day, and on that day, U.S. Representative Douglas Barnard of Georgia delivered a laudatory speech in which he stated that “James is indeed our No. 1 ambassador.” So, Adrienne Brown’s lawyer, Allen W. Johnson, made a motion before the court offering Rep. Barnard’s statement from two years earlier as proof of James Brown’s ambassadorial status, genius!, maintaining that Brown was “America’s No. 1 ambassador and as such should have diplomatic immunity and such immunity extends to his wife. The ploy did not work. Johnson withdrew the motion the next day, claiming that he had filed it only because he was pressed for time and “was trying to pursue every possible avenue of defense,” and that he had “since determined that the congressman intended his comments as a goodwill gesture and a figure of speech,” not as a literal recognition of Brown’s ambassadorial status. His wife probably yelled at him.
Of course, Johnson’s motion was bound to fail: Diplomatic immunity shields officials of foreign nations from criminal charges while they represent their countries in the United States, and United States officials while they represent America in other countries. Such immunity therefore does not extend to American citizens who commit crimes in the USA, ambassadors of soul or not.

The Holidays will never be the same for us at eargoggles since the passing of James Brown on Christmas Day a couple of years ago. One of the funkiest so far by far. That being said, why not a live show from “The Godfather of Soul” just over a month after Mrs. Brown got caught in 1987 ridin dirty?? Download this and put it with your Carpenters albums to use this Christmas.

This show is from November 27th 1987 Klein Auditorium Bridgeport, CT

Disc 1:
01. Intro jam
02. James brown intro
03. Givit up Or turn it loose
04. livin’ in america
05. gonna have a funky good time
06. Georgia
07. get on the good foot
08. what my mama said
09. make it funky
10. no business like show business
11. civic announcement
12. how do you stop?
13. I got the feelin’

Disc 2:
01. It’s a man’s world
02. superbad
03. take me out to the ballgame
04. jam-superbad
05. what my mama said #2
06. papa’s got a brand new bag
07. please,please,please
08. i feel good
09. jam-i feel good
10. outta sight
11. Outtro jam
12. end jam

Your funky zip

ps….sorry for the long post. thought the story was funny. comments always welcome.thanks!


  1. That is classic! I love it… diplomatic immunity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: