Slap on the Wrist for “Spanking Judge”: Texas Commission Fails To Remove Judge Who Ordered Spankings In Courtroom

judgeThe Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct had imposed remarkably light punishment in the admonishment of Justice of the Peace Gustavo “Gus” Garza. While the act was in the mid range of the possible discipline, it is disturbing that this Commission would consider Garza to be competent to continue on the bench after he ordered physical punishment to be carried out in his courtroom.

Garza is part of a new generation of judges who seem to run their courtrooms like tabloid television court programs — ordering punishment that grab headlines and turning their courtrooms into circuses. He has been accused of sending kids to jail for the smallest of infractions.

Garza gave parents the choice of paying fines or letting him watch as they spanked their children in his courtroom. Many parents could not afford Garza’s fines.

The Commission found that “Judge Garza routinely facilitated and permitted the paddling of juveniles in his courtroom thereby clothing the practice with an improper judicial blessing” and subjects kids to pain and humiliation in his courtroom.

Only a civil lawsuit stopped Garza from continuing the abuses. Yet, another judge ruled that Garza was protected from damages due to these abuses.

Despite these complaints, the Commission still believes that he should be a judge, a decision that undermines the credibility of the Texas court system as a whole. Garza has been defended by citizens who believe that he is a model of a judge. This was an opportunity to make it clear that, regardless of the cheap appeal of judges meting out their own forms of justice, it is intolerable in a system committed to the rule of law.

The Commission also addressed abuses by and Tony Torres, though nothing on the level of Garza. Torres was disciplined for mishandling a small claims case and ordered to take six hours of instruction. This is his third sanction. He previously was found to have dismissed a small claims case without cause and also violating campaigning rules in his support for a local sheriff.

Torres will now be assigned a “mentor” to help him in his judging.

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6 thoughts on “Slap on the Wrist for “Spanking Judge”: Texas Commission Fails To Remove Judge Who Ordered Spankings In Courtroom”

  1. During the Texas judge’s temporary orders for my divorce, the judge sided with my university-professor husband by instructing me to hand over my personal laptop. To add weight to his wise decision, he stated:

    “Don’t accidentally delete anything. Don’t let the Lord God All Mighty send a stroke of lightning down…Because I will blame it on you, just like ‘The Godfather,’ I’m serious.”

    To that I replied, “We’ve had a strike of lightning in April of this year, sir, that destroyed our home.”

    “…You remove the information off that you want off of that computer, copy it only onto disk and then he gets the lap laptop.”

    If you were my attorney, how would you defend me against such a judge? The irony is that a lightning bolt really did destroy my new house one year ago today.

  2. Lets play a game!

    “Allowing a judge who orders children physically punsihed in his courtroom to contiue on the bench is a decision that undermines the credibility of the Texas court system as a whole”

    “Allowing a fool to frolic and wear an oversized bowtie while wearing floppy shoes undermines the credibility of the circus clown college.”

    These two sentances are very similar! How many differences can you spot?

  3. Every Sunday I go to mass and see kids doing things that would have earned me “a trip to the bathroom” I was, consequently a scared but impeccably behaved child. Spare the rod and spoil the child. If the parents won’t do it, perhaps the legal system should.

  4. Well at least you know where you stand with this Judge. Really, nothing colloquial about his behaviour. He does not have my blessing, nor probably a lot of others. But, at least you know where you stand. Ouch.

  5. Unless you’re a violent offender, it should just be socially acceptable to be a fugitive from Texas. Seriously.

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