Monday, October 21, 2013

Judge who texted tips to prosecutors resigns, admits no fault

Polk County District Judge Elizabeth Coker will step down Dec. 6 after it was revealed she texted advice and tips on cross-examination questions to prosecutors during criminal trials, the Houston Chronicle reported today. See prior, related Grits coverage:
Judge Coker admitted no wrongdoing, said the paper, though she faced disciplinary action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. At age 46, Judge Coker "has been on the 258th bench for 14 years and is the third generation in her family to serve on an East Texas bench."

My question: How is it that this woman hasn't lost her bar license?

MORE: From Your Houston News, which includes a link (pdf) to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct report and Judge Coker's response (pdf). Thanks to an alert commenter for the heads up.


Anonymous said...

That's a really good question, Grits. She probably deserves it. The bar has gone after Ken Anderson so maybe there's hope yet.

Soronel Haetir said...

Easy, the reason she hasn't been disbarred is that doing that requires actual official work. Getting her to resign only requires a little unofficial nudge and doesn't reflect badly on anyone (Sadly, even the judge after a year

Anonymous said...

I've been sitting in the front row on this one since late last year. Trust me, it takes more than a nudge. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct conducted a very thorough investigation with a half dozen attorneys and Judge KayCee Jones testifying in front of them in Austin last August. They also took affidavits from others who witnessed Coker's misconduct.

The Commission cannot take her bar card, that is the jurisdiction of the State Bar of Texas. There are several complaints against her with the State Bar and other entities are still investigating. It is my belief that they were simply waiting for the Commission to do their thing. I just hope that someone can come up with money to file appeals and get reviews of cases where Coker was successful in getting people sent to prison without a fair trail.

She has been pulling this kind of thing since she first took the bench in 1999. Why didn't anyone come forward before? They were afraid.

You can read the Commission's report, as well as Coker's lame response, here: - there are PDFs in the left margin.

The system does work. It takes some very brave, very persistent people. Keep your eyes peeled for KayCee Jones and Lee Hon to be the next ones to go.

dfisher said...

I just filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission charging Judge Peeples with violating Art. 5, sec. 24 of the TX Constitution and Chapter 87, sec. 87.018 of the local government code for dismissing the Jury trial scheduled to begin today in Austin. Judge Peeples believes he is not bound by the statue or constitution in the Writ of Petition to remove Travis CO DA Rosemary Lehmberg. In TX only a jury can remove a county official who has not plead guilt to or convicted of a felony.

I waited to see if Travis CO Attorney Escamilla was going to file a Writ of Mandamus, but as I suspectedm, he didn't.

Now lets see what the Judicial Commission does.

Anonymous said...

@ dfisher - The thing that helped most in the Coker case were the following: showing a pattern of behavior, a variety of complainants (i.e., defense attorneys, prosecutors, and citizens), and public perception. The last one was accomplished by sending in every news article anyone could find. They took evidence up to the middle of last week. I hope that the Commission gets it that people aren't just complaining, they have legitimate concerns.

himyd said...

It's people in prison who shouldn't be there.She don't never need be a judge again.

Anonymous said...

I hope this WTF? moment leads to someone making a Texas version of a sequel on "My Cousin Vinny".

We actually do have more in your face corrupt Judges' than any other state. It's the media that keeps the lid on this type of corruption out of fear and of course the good ol boy network's motto. I know nuthing, I saw nuthing,

Anonymous said...

My question: How is it that this woman hasn't lost her bar license?

Easy peezy, lawyers looking out for lawyers with a classic wink & a nod as they agreed to form an In-House disciplinary function. Just like cops looking out for cops with thier blue wall of silence association & Internal Affairs. Keep it hush hush and it'll go away division. If & when it's brought up, simply pull out a file and state that it's an on going investigation.

The joke being on the citizens' that are also guilty by allowing it.

No protest equals a green light.

Anonymous said...

Come on, people. Do any of you honestly believe that none of the other prosecutors with robes do this to help out a former colleague in the district attorney's office? You better believe they do it. Maybe they aren't as dumb as Coker and leave a trail, but they do indeed do it.

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Anonymous said...

Now they're going after Judge Jones:

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the people that have posted on here...Judge coker has also ruined my families life. She sentenced my 37 year old brother 99 years for allegedly sexually abusing his own daughter. There was no evidence presented that he committed this crime that he was accused of and the examiner that examined the child stated in court that the child had not been touched. But yet her and Lee Hon can ruin someone's life behind false accusations. On top of that the whole court proceedings were unethical. For instance all during the trial there were jokes and laughter going on from Coker as well as the district attorney (Lee Hon). Another thing that took place that I was uncertain about was the fact that my brother asked for another attorney instead of the present court appointed lawyer and she told my parents that the only way that he could change lawyers is if a new lawyer is present before the trial the next day. I don't give credit to Karma, I give all credit to God because he said in his word that "you will reap what you sow." In my opinion Coker was able to get off easy but her judgement day is coming and she will have to answer to the almighty God for all of the many lives in Polk County, San Jacinto County, Trinity County, and other counties that she have destroyed behind her coruptness!!!

Anonymous said...

And Good Riddance

Anonymous said...

Another judge has been caught doing the same thing in person, during breaks in a trial. The judge was not recused and has not been disciplined. In this instance the jury saw the judges bias behavior including his posting of a MADD poster in his court during the DWI trial. Fortunately a not guilty was the result in this unfairly conducted trial with a biased judge.