Clearing up confusion in its order dismissing an ethics rebuke against Judge Sharon Keller, a special court of review has issued a new order that no longer makes taxpayers liable for Keller’s legal costs.Between her legal fees and being ordered to pay the largest ever ethics fine in Texas history, Keller's hubris has cost her a great deal financially if not politically. Lindell adds that the three judge panel "has not yet ruled on the motion for rehearing" in Keller's misconduct case.
The court’s original Oct. 11 order said Keller could recoup legal costs from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct - estimated by her lawyer to be “in the six figures” but probably less than $1 million.
State law, however, specifies that court costs and attorney fees cannot be awarded in judicial conduct proceedings. The new order deletes the reference.
For my part, I still don't understand why Keller hasn't been brought up on criminal charges for the ethics violations. In explaining why State Rep. Kino Flores was prosecuted for similar non-disclosure violations, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg recently said "This verdict represents the public saying to public officials accurate and full public disclosure is an important part of public service ... The public will not accept excuses like, 'I was too busy' or 'I just didn't know.'" Yet those are precisely Sharon Keller's excuses for not reporting millions in assets and secret seats she held on multiple corporate boards. I can't help but think anyone else would face criminal liability in addition to the Ethics Commission fine if they engaged in the same behavior.