After receiving information regarding possible inappropriate behavior by a magistrate judge, Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart identified a complaint pursuant to Rule 5 of the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings. He then referred the complaint to a Special Committee for investigation and recommendations to the Judicial Council pursuant to Rules ll(a)(4) and (f).
After investigation, the Special Committee submitted its report to the Judicial Council. The Special Committee determined that the subject judge had inappropriately pursued social relationships with an attorney who practices before him and with a court employee.
The Special Committee found no evidence that inappropriate physical contact was attempted by the subject judge in either matter. The Special Committee also found no evidence that the subject judge used his position to coerce either woman to socialize with him. However, the Special Committee determined that the subject judge was insensitive to his position of power over both women and the difficulty they would feel in turning down his repeated invitations to dinner and drinks.
It further determined that he was not mindful of the impropriety of socializing with them in a manner that was intended to be or could have been construed as being romantic, and which included discussion of private, personal matters.
The Special Committee also found that the subject judge was not attentive to the appearance of impropriety inherent in socializing one-on-one with an attorney who practices before him.
Current List of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Judges (Dec. 2018)
Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart
Judge Thomas M. Reavley
Judge Carolyn Dineen King
Judge E. Grady Jolly
Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham
Judge W. Eugene Davis
Judge Edith H. Jones
Judge Jerry E. Smith
Judge John M. Duhé, Jr.
Judge Jacques L. Wiener, Jr.
Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale
Judge Fortunato P. Benavides
Judge James L. Dennis
Judge Edith Brown Clement
Judge Priscilla R. Owen
Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod
Judge Leslie H. Southwick
Judge Catharina Haynes
Judge James E. Graves, Jr.
Judge Stephen A. Higginson
Judge Gregg J. Costa
Judge Don R. Willett
Judge James C. Ho
Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan
Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt
Judge Andrew S. Oldham
Fifth Circuit Judges that are Listed as Presiding on the Sexual Misconduct Judicial Complaint
STEWART, Chief Judge,
OWEN, Priscilla R.
JONES, Edith H. (former Chief Judge, who had her own issues recently with racial slur / discrimination complaint that was dismissed due to lack of evidence).
SMITH, Jerry E.
DENNIS, James L.
ELROD, Jennifer W.
SOUTHWICK, Leslie H.
GRAVES, James E., Jr.
HIGGINSON, Stephen A.
Other named Texas Judges named in Opinion
The Special Committee met with the subject judge in person, and expressed to him their serious concerns about his interactions as outlined above.
The Special Committee found that the subject judge acknowledged the Special Committee’s concerns, evidenced a clear understanding of why his behavior was problematic, took responsibility for his behavior, and expressed willingness to make amends.
In particular, the subject judge composed and has sent written apologies to the two women in question.
He further represented, both in those apologies and in person to the Special Committee, that he would respect the confidentiality of the two women, and would not retaliate against or disparage them personally or professionally.
The Special Committee found the subject judge’s contrition and representations to be sincere.
For the foregoing reasons, the Special Committee recommended that the Judicial Council conclude the proceeding because appropriate corrective action has been taken.
See Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings, Rule 20(b)(l)(B). The Judicial Council accepts this recommendation and concludes the proceeding pursuant to Rule 20(b)(l)(B) of the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.
Pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2) of the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings, the Judicial Council determines that the name of the subject judge should not be disclosed.
An order concluding the complaint is entered simultaneously herewith.
The question remains, why are Judges that are reprimanded or censured not named or disclosed. What rules apply for the general population should apply to all men and women in the Courts. This secrecy should be repealed.
By Chief Judge Stewart
- Courtroom Deputy:
Mr. Roberto Velez
(915) 534-6725, ext. 1538
- Assigned Court Reporter:
Mr. Walter ChiribogaOfficial Court Reporter(915) 834-0553Walter_Chiriboga@txwd.uscourts.gov
- Year Service Began:
- Legal Practice:
Judge County Court at Law No. 1 in El Paso, Texas
Judge of the 327th Judicial District Court in El Paso, Texas
Co-Chair of the Judiciary Relations Committee, State Bar of Texas
Past Chair of the Juvenile Law Section, State Bar of Texas