Private Warning of a Justice of the Peace (08/25/03)


In one matter, a driver attempted to resolve a traffic ticket in the judge's court by entering a plea of no contest with a request for deferred adjudication, and by paying the requisite fine and fees to the court.  Over the next three months, the driver's mother contacted the court numerous times to find out the status of her son's ticket; each time she learned that the case was still open.  Eventually, the driver's paperwork was processed correctly.  In another matter, the commissioners' court of the judge's county complained that the judge engaged in fiscal mismanagement by failing to fulfill his statutory obligation to deposit monies as required by the Local Government Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.  A county auditor's report showed that the judge's court had thousands of dollars worth of un-posted receipts, thousands of unprocessed citations, late deposits and receipts that did not match funds on hand.  Further, the audit indicated that the court had not implemented a plan of action to correct similar problems cited in earlier audits.  It was also determined that for more than two years, the judge had failed to file requisite monthly activity reports with the Office of Court Administration, contrary to the Government Code and despite receiving several notices that the reports were overdue.  The Commission acknowledged that a subsequent audit found that the judge had made substantial progress in addressing the shortcomings found by the initial audit.   [Violation of Article 5, Section 1-a(6)A, Texas Constitution, and Canon 2A, Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.]  Private Warning of a Justice of the Peace (08/25/03)