By Ian Millhiser on October 24, 2013 at 11:24 amTexas Judge Elizabeth Coker allegedly sent private texts to a prosecutor during a trial she was presiding over, in order to help that attorney obtain a guilty verdict. Although Judge Coker has not admitted to these allegations, she signed a “VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT TO RESIGN FROM JUDICIAL OFFICE IN LIEU OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION” on Monday rather than face further sanction.
According to Coker’s agreement to resign, she allegedly texted then-Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones during a trial “to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial; to ensure that a witness was able to refresh his memory and rehabilitate his testimony . . . and to discuss legal issues pertinent to the case.” Despite Judge Coker’s alleged breach of judicial impartiality, Jones was unsuccessful in obtaining a conviction.
This incident aside, Jones successfully defeated a longtime incumbent judge to join Judge Corker on the Texas bench. She was sworn into her new judicial role by Coker. Judge Jones admitted to the texting allegations, acknowledged that communicating secretly with a judge about a pending case was wrong, and apologized for her role in the incident.
Under Coker’s agreement to resign, Coker is “disqualified in the future from: sitting or serving as a judge in the State of Texas; standing for election or appointment to judicial office . . . or performing or exercising any judicial duties or functions of a judicial officer . . . including the performance of wedding ceremonies.”