Friday, July 19, 2013

Texting while judging won't get you disbarred, but it might get you impeached.

State Rep. Harold Dutton this week filed a resolution to impeach state District Judge Elizabeth Coker from Polk County for allegedly texting advice and suggested lines of questioning to prosecutors in her court during trial. See coverage from Your Houston News. Hard to say what are the chances of it passing at this late hour, but it's also hard to imagine who would stand up at the Legislature to defend such behavior after they've spent half a year debating the Michael Morton Act, innocence commissions, etc.. We'll see.

RELATED: Texting while judging: Judge texted assistance to prosecutors during trial(s)


Brad Walters said...

While they are at it how about including Her text mate Jones who is now on the bench and for good measure Anderson who is still on the bench after screwing Morton out of a quarter century of his life.

Ryan Paige said...

It can't possibly get too far since the Speaker's office steadfastly claims that the Legislature doesn't have the power to impeach District Judges.

I had a few long conversations with the Speaker's office trying to get them to support impeaching Ken Anderson, and they stuck to the claim that the Legislature cannot remove a District Judge.

If the Speaker's office will back keeping the judge who, as prosecutor, put Michael Morton in prison and illegally hid evidence so a serial killer could kill again, on the bench in the very same year of the Michael Morton Act, etc. then I can't imagine it will be any different in this case.

Phillip Baker said...

Who does impeach state district judges? Certainly not the State Bar. They don't even discipline garden variety lawyers. no matter what. Judicial Qualifications Commission? See comments on State bar. Seriously, does anyone know how a state judge can be removed or disciplined?

Anonymous said...

I'm not 100% certain but I believe the state senate can impeach a judge.

Ryan Paige said...

The State House of Representatives has impeached District Judges in the past (with the impeachment trial itself in the Senate). I think the most recent was in 1975 (O.P. Carillo). I pointed this out to the Speaker's representative, but they insisted that the House does not have that power.

Their position seemed to be that only the Texas Supreme Court could impeach a District Judge.

Brad Walters said...

It is in article 15 of the Texas Constitution. It lists several ways to remove District Judges. The power of Impeachment rests with the state House of Representatives per section 1. The trial of District Judges, and other high state officials is done by the state Senate per section 2. The speaker should read the Texas Constitution and do his job bringing impeachment charges against Anderson, Coker, Jones and any other judge that thinks it is cute, fun or a good career move to violate the rights of those with cases before them. The system has some corrupt people that need to be in jobs where peoples' lives and freedom don't hang in a balance with a thumb on it.