Who's That Judge? First Photo of Judge That Broke Madonna's Heart

Apr. 8 2009, Published 11:24 a.m. ET

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We've all seen the photos of Madonna squiring Mercy James, the orphan she unsuccessfully tried to adopt, around Malawi. Now, for the first time, we get to see the judge who made the controversial decision.

Malawi high court judge Esme Chombo, pictured here, refused to grant Madonna the right to adopt Mercy James last week.

Chombo said that granting Madonna's request to adopt the 4-year-old girl would set a bad precedent by bending the residency rules for the pop superstar.

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"It is necessary that we look beyond the petitioner... and consider the consequences of opening the doors too wide," Chombo said in her ruling. "By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts... could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals."

While acknowledging the singer's philanthropy, Chombo added that her charity with the orphanage will still benefit Mercy, who continues to live there.


Chombo's ruling was a controversial decision in Malawi, as political power-broker Anna Kachikho, the country's Women and Child Welfare Development Minister, said publicly that she supported the adoption.

Madonna is appealing the ruling by judge Esme Chombo. (Photo: Fame Pictures)



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