Private Admonition of a District Judge (4/08/04)


In one case, although the judge explained to a pro se litigant that he could not engage in an ex parte discussion with her, he continued to respond to her questions and criticisms, and asked her "Are you calling me a liar?" In another case, the judge admonished a divorce litigant in open court for berating his own attorney at the courthouse; the judge later testified that he felt the litigant, who was employed as a deputy sheriff in another county, did not exhibit proper behavior as a peace officer. Two years later, the judge's bailiff told him that the same litigant and his mother were in court for the divorce, and had called the judge's court "crooked." The judge chastised the litigant and his mother for criticizing the court, and complained to the litigant's supervisor at the sheriff's department about the litigant's past and present behavior; the litigant was officially reprimanded. The judge conducted court proceedings in an undignified manner, and by reporting the divorce litigant to his superiors, the judge was retaliating against him for firing his attorney two years earlier. [Violation of Canon 3B(4) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.] Private Admonition of a District Judge (4/08/04)