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treat litigants and attorneys with patience, dignity, and courtesy when she held a marathon court session

for probation revocation cases beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon on July 2, and concluding at 4:00

a.m. on July 3. This marathon session did not have any formal breaks scheduled, and led to the litigant

in the last case appealing her conviction because “fair consideration could not have possibly been given

at 4:00 a.m. after a 19 hour day.” District Judge violated Canons 2A, 3B(2), 3B(4), and 3B(6). In addition

to the public admonition, District Judge was ordered to receive four hours of additional education in the

areas of: (1) the “Open Courts” doctrine and (2) recognizing and eliminating explicit and implicit bias and/

or prejudice.

Public Admonition

: On two occasions, Municipal Judge denied citizens, both of whom were alleged

victims in cases filed in her court, access to court records. Municipal Judge relied erroneously on an

Attorney General Opinion in both complaints. The Commission also noted that several witnesses observed

Municipal Judge “engaged in a shouting match” with a woman outside the courtroom. The witnesses

believe that Municipal Judge was upset with the woman for criticizing the way she handled one of the cases

above. Additionally, a local law firm audited Municipal Judge’s court and found “chronic and systematic

problems.” Based on the findings of this report (i.e. improper fiscal management, failing to hold jury and

bench trials, failing to provide public information, etc.), the Commission found that Municipal Judge failed

to comply with the law and demonstrated a lack of professional competence in violation of Canons 2A

and 3B(2).

Public Admonishment:

County Court at Law (CCL) Judge was the subject of local and national media

attention for inefficient management of her courtroom and discourteous treatment of attorneys. The

accounts of CCL Judge’s behavior include speaking to attorneys in a threateningmanner, treating attorneys

in an undignified and discourteous manner, an inability to be unbiased towards certain attorneys, denying

an attorney the opportunity to represent his client because he was wearing shorts due to a recent knee

surgery (he wore a clearly visible knee brace), and having an inefficient courtroom. CCL Judge denied

these claims. On one particular occasion examined by the Commission, a defense attorney stated during

a recusal hearing that he has never been treated so poorly by a judge. An assistant district attorney

supported the defense attorney’s assertion by testifying that CCL Judge disliked defense attorney to a

point that she could not be fair and impartial. The recusal motion was granted in this case. When the CCL

Judge discovered that she was recused, she filed her own Motion for Reconsideration. The Fifth Court of

Appeals granted a mandamus on CCL Judge’s Motion to Reconsider, and held that the judge’s motion

was “wholly improper and without authority.” CCL Judge argued that her actions in filing the motion were

appropriate because she was not given notice of the hearing, which violated her due process rights.

The Commission found that CCL Judge’s treatment and actions towards certain attorneys became

widely known in her community and caused recusal motions to be filed, drawing the attention of local

and national media to the judiciary in an unfavorable manner. It noted that the CCL Judge’s poor judicial

demeanor created an appearance, if not a reality, of bias and impropriety in violation of Canon 3B(4)

and Article V, §1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution. Furthermore, the Commission found that CCL Judge’s

attempts to intervene in the recusal motions filed against her demonstrated a lack of competence in

performing her duties and a failure to follow the law in violation of Canon 2A and Article V, §1-a(6)A.

Private Sanctions

Summaries are taken directly from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s website:

http://www.scjc. state.tx.us/pdf/actions/SummariesofPrivateSanctions8-31-14.pdf

No private sanctions have been issued since the date of the last publication.