SPECIAL REPORT: Mother who got custody despite past arrests in trouble with the law again

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - WFXG investigates family court cases and custody decisions that impact children across the state.

We've learned new details about a case we first featured in May.

Magistrate Judge Doug Nelson was the guardian ad litem assigned to the case. He later resigned following a WFXG investigation into allegations he was inappropriate with women going through family court.

In this particular case, Nelson recommended visitation rights for a mom arrested on a marijuana charge and child neglect, but presiding judge David Roper took it further, actually awarding primary custody to the mother.

This is the same case that prompted a tense meeting in Judge Roper's chambers, where he took issue with some questions from Fox 54's Nick Lulli about this particular case.

But since that meeting took place in May, we've now learned from the police that the mother, Kimberly Shelley, was arrested again.

WFXG obtained Aiken Public Safety patrol car video through the Freedom of Information Act that shows the September arrest of Shelley on charges of DUI and child endangerment. According to police, the video also shows Shelley driving down Richland Avenue just minutes before. A police incident report said her young son was inside the vehicle, too.

But Shelley's ex-husband said this could have been prevented if the guardian ad litem and judge had put his child's best interests first. Court reports show both the judge and the guardian ad litem knew about Shelley's previous arrests, which - in a report filed with the judge and both parents - Doug Nelson said were getting expunged.

“My ex-wife violated the law, and was facing repercussions," said the father.

The father said he doesn't know why Nelson and Judge Roper didn't take past charges against Shelley seriously.

We did reach out to Shelley for comment on the phone. A woman who answered her cell phone - who Shelley's ex-husband identified as being Shelley - told us she wasn't there and asked to leave a message.

When we called back, the same woman answered, and we couldn't understand what she was saying.

We've also sent multiple text messages asking for her side of the story, but she hasn't returned them.

But according to Shelley herself  in that patrol car video, she was drinking before she got behind the wheel.

The officer asked, "How many drinks have you had?"

Shelley responded, "I've had two drinks. And I passed all my tests. I don't understand why I'm being arrested."

But police said she failed several aspects of the administered sobriety test. And when they took her back to public safety headquarters, the arrested officer reported she faked blowing into the breath testing device, so they took her license.

The father said this is just the latest incident he said is not in his son's best interests, and despite trying to protect his son the best he could, he said the courts just didn't listen.

"I tried every route I could think of," he said. "And no doors opened up. Nobody would help me."

Even after the arrest, the father will have to go back to family court to try again to get custody of his son.

The Aiken Solicitor's Office tells me Shelley has plead guilty to the DUI charge against her.

We did reach out to Doug Nelson again for comment on this story, but his phone number has been deactivated. He previously denied all allegations of wrongdoing against him.

Copyright 2014 WFXG. All rights reserved.