Texas Judge Resigns After Disclosure That She Texted Prosecutors To Help Them In Criminal Case

tumblr_inline_mv8r6oORVN1qij8k6We previously discussed the disturbing ethics cases against Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker who was caught sending text messages to prosecutors to help them with a case. Coker is now stepping down in a voluntary agreement with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, though some have objected that such a voluntary departure is not sufficient punishment for such an egregious lack of ethics.

Jones admitted that while she was an Assistant District Attorney, she received text messages from Coker who was sitting on bench during the trial of David Reeves, who was facing a felony charge of injury to his child. Coker was clearly not satisfied with the prosecutors examinations and sent a series of questions to be asked of the witnesses. Despite the clearly improper nature of these communications, Jones served as a conduit to the trial attorney and passed along the questions.

Kaycee JonesA letter from Jones (shown right) states:

“On August 8, 2012, I did receive a text message from Judge Coker that suggested a line of questioning in an Injury to a Child trial over which she was presiding and telling me to tell the trial prosecutor. I was not the trial prosecutor and had nothing to do with the investigation or prosecution of the case, but I was present in the courtroom for portions of the trial as an observer. When I received the text, I hand wrote the text verbatim and asked our investigator to deliver it to the prosecutor who was trying the case . . .

I deeply regret that I acted in this manner. It was wrong and I knew better.”

Here is a picture of Jones being sworn in as a judge for a term lasting to 2016.

It is not clear whether Jones has been able to escape any serious discipline for her role in this controversy, but there are no articles on any charges facing Jones. At a minimum, one would expect Jones’ fitness for the bench would be examined.

As for Coker, some have argued that her actions were an abuse of the legal process and that she should face charges before the bar.

What do you think?

25 thoughts on “Texas Judge Resigns After Disclosure That She Texted Prosecutors To Help Them In Criminal Case”

  1. jomo, If you were to be intellectually honest you would have acknowledged there are prosecutor judges and defense judges. On civil cases there are plaintiff’s judges and defense judges. Finally, there are judges that are straight and honest. They’re are more straight and honest judges there are straight and honest reporters, although that is “damning w/ faint praise.” I’ve known some great judges. They never leaned either way and were respected by all. One of those judges, Richard Sprinkle, of Jackson County, Mo. officiated our wedding.

  2. Even where judges can ask questions, they can’t do anything (either in the content of the question or its format) to suggest that they believe in the guilt of the accused or have an opinion as to the veracity of a witness. Many lines of questioning that one might suggest to a prosecutor would be impermissible on that basis.

    1. Richard – you are correct, however the questions can add to the information needed to convict or not.

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