Texas Judge Elizabeth E. Coker will be resigning from her post as judge in the 258th District Court of Polk, Trinity, and San Jacinto Counties as part of a deal that allows her to resign rather than face disciplinary action. The ethical transgressions she apparently engaged in were many, shocking and outrageous. Investigators found that she regularly engaged in ex parte communications with members of the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney, and defense attorneys regarding cases pending in her court, favored certain attorneys and was prejudicial toward others in both trials and court appointments, and even met with jurors, without the knowledge of counsel, while they were deliberating in criminal trials, in order to influence their verdict. Even as she was being investigated for judicial misconduct, Coker attempted to influence a material witness against her prior to that witness’ testimony before the Disciplinary Commission, and lied about it when she was questioned about her contact with that witness.
Yet as awful as all that is, these are not the most spectacular of her ethical breaches. THIS is: in the middle of a trial, Coker texted instructions from the bench to a Polk County Assistant District Attorney who was assisting in the prosecution of a case in Coker’s court, suggesting a line of questioning that she felt the prosecution should try. Luckily, the assistant DA asked to borrow the notepad of one of the Commission’s investigators who happened to be among the trial spectators so she could write down the judge’s instructions to pass along. The judge was caught red handed. Coker is now being called “The Texting Judge.”
I think she should be called “Penitentiary Prisoner TK 7233492.” Why isn’t such a blatant perversion of the justice system a criminal offense? Why was Coker allowed to resign “without admission of guilt”? Why doesn’t the justice system come down hard and mercilessly when judges or prosecutors try to rig the system? What’s the matter with Texas?
Meanwhile, this story has a jaw-dropping kicker that resembles the cliché endings of horror movies, where the horror—the monster, the alien, the plague, the unkillable maniac—shows that it is still alive, and will rise again in the sequel. Kaycee Jones was the assistant DA who accepted the judge’s illegal and unethical text, and was ready to assist the judge in illicitly assisting the prosecution. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyer ethics, she was obligated to report the judge and force a mistrial, but Jones was happy to play along with this shocking corruption of justice. Now Coker may be going, but Jones is now a judge for the 411th District Court!
Lady Justice is lucky she’s blind, because if she saw what was being done in her name in Texas, it would kill her.
Pointer: Zoe Brain
Facts: Above the Law, KLTV
10 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unethical Judge…”
It isn’t just Texas… The police routinely get away with – literally – murder and are never punished. Abuses by the legal system virtually never get punished. Ever. Lawyers and coos and lab techs that lie and corrupt the system get virtually no punishment.
Popehat has a great story on the difference in treatment between the one guy from Ohio (Castor?) and a lab tech why dry-labbed thousands of tests resulting in countless convictions.
People wonder why I have no faith in “the system”. I have to ask why they have any…
Eeyup. The state (police/DA/prosecution) are the good guys, you see, and while she may have TECHNICALLY been breaking rules, and we have to punish her, well, she was only breaking them to try and help the good guys win. They deserve to win, after all, and she was just making sure that the bad guys didn’t slip through on a technicality. What kind of monster are you, Jack, that you think she should be imprisoned for trying to help the good guys?
The good guys are suppose to live by the same laws as any citizens does. The law is for everyone!!!! And I feel it’s wrong that the other two involved weren’t punished as well. They were just as guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your so-called GOOD GUYS broke the law. I don’t think they’re the good guys. I’ts abuse of power.
There are not much differences than Commies countries.
There are different ethical rules for prosecutors than for defense counsel, if there are any for the former at all.
Unbelievable…..nah…corruption is the new way of work everywhere….just hope this ol gal…duh, I mean Judge Jones doesn’t wear pink tennis shoes.
According to the news story, here is Judge Coker’s resignation/apology letter:
“I want to express my sincere regret to the people of Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity counties,” Coker stated. “The integrity and impartiality of our courts have always been my highest priority, and I am deeply sorry that my actions created a circumstance where that could be questioned”
“The Judicial Commission takes the rules surrounding judicial interaction with parties in a lawsuit very seriously, and I will always regret the lapses in judgment that helped create this situation, especially knowing that my conduct as a judge is subject to a higher standard,” Coker stated.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime serving as judge, and I will always be grateful the people of this district gave me such an amazing opportunity, and I am very sorry for the difficulty this has caused for everyone.”
“My family has deep roots in Polk County, and now I am raising my girls in the same community that gave me my start. We will be starting a new chapter here for our family, and as always I ask for your support and prayers. The kindness, friendship, and love of so many people in these three counties have always sustained us, and I will always be grateful for that.”
That to me is one incredible, galling comment made by Judge Coker. “Lapses in judgment that helped create this situation . . .”?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? How about this, Judge, “To whom it may concern (but really, I don’t care if you’re concerned or not) I am wholly unqualified to hold any public or private office and the fact that I am teaching my children by example shouldn’t concern anyone. Ethics, integrity, propriety and accountability are mere buzz words I throw around to sound important. By the way, upon stepping down from the bench, I will be serving as the Acting Director of the IRS Non-Profit Application Division as well as Health and Human Services Assistant Commissioner. So long and thanks for all the fish.”
Good grief. Doesn’t her resignation under a storm of corruption call into question all of the cases she presided over as the judge? How many convictions are going to be overturned because this buffoon took liberties with the state and federal constitutions, judicial ethics and standards, and the relevant rules of procedure.
Didn’t you also read about Kaycee Jones and Hon partipating???? So, if everyone is going to talk about Elizabeh Coker ,why are we putting up with the other two not being punished?????
I heard something about the Coker case. As I understand it, this woman took advantage of a little known loophole in the law that allowed her to resign rather than face charges. One can only hope that the legislature will move to close that hole with alacrity after this! I didn’t know about that prosecutor being up for a judgeship. That sort of outrage is all too common around the entire country these days, but that’s no excuse to Texans. We generally operate on a higher ethical plane than Chicago. Note: Austin doesn’t count!
Fantastic piece. Good on you! I’ve shared it on Facebook.