Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after being caught engaging in a massive perversion of justice. A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction.
from Houston Chronicle:
State District Judge Elizabeth E. Coker—who sits on the bench over Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties—has resigned under fire in a texting controversy, according to a voluntary agreement with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
It stems from complaints and media stories alleging that Coker “had engaged in improper ex parte text communications with Polk County Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones while Judge Coker presided” over a criminal trial in August of 2012.
With those complaints, “the commission commenced an investigation into allegations that Judge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information” about the case “to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial” among other issues.
The agreement also said the commission looked into other complaints that Coker allegedy engaged in other improper communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County prosecutor’s office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney and certain defense attorneys.
The agreement goes on to say “the parties agree that the allegations of judicial misconduct, if found to be true, could result in disciplinary action against Judge Coker.” As a result, the parties sought to resolve the matter “without the time and expense of further disciplinary proceedings.”
Coker did not admit any guilt or fault.
Honestly, I feel that Coker is getting off far too lightly. Her actions may have caused innocent people to end up in prison. She should be face criminal charges for such a grave violation of the law.
Her resignation also opens the door for a flurry of re-trials for anybody convicted in her court sessions. By trying to illegally secure convictions, Coker opened Pandora’s box, and now the state of Texas will have some massive legal knots to untangle.