POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A district judge who serves in San Jacinto, Trinity, and Polk counties is the subject of a formal complaint to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, according to a story by Houston-based KPRC.
Judge Kaycee Jones, who handles felony criminal cases and child custody matters for the 411th Judicial District Court, was elected in 2012, and she has been previously reprimanded by the Texas State Bar.
KPRC cited documents that showed a driving while intoxicated case in which she issued a blood draw warrant had to be dismissed because Jones was also listed as a witness in the case.
San Jacinto County Judge John Lovett told KPRC that he had no choice but to dismiss the case because the state's primary pieces of evidence was inadmissible.
"On the night of April 20, 2014, Jones was the on-call magistrate during a DWI 'No Refusal' weekend when she volunteered to ride-along with a DPS trooper, looking for DWI offenders," KPRC's story stated. "Documents obtained by KPRC Channel 2 showed the trooper listed Jones as a witness to an arrest, while at the same time, she was charged with impartially determining whether blood should be drawn from the person stopped."
Brian Wice, a former judge who serves as a legal analyst for KPRC, said district court judges "have no business sitting inside a DPS squad car on a 'no refusal' weekend.
According to the KPRC story, Jones declined an interview request and declined comment at the San Jacinto County Courthouse.
"Also at issue is whether the judge specifically instructed the trooper to leave her name off the application for the blood draw warrant," the KPRC story stated. "The trooper offered testimony on the matter during a motion to suppress evidence in the DWI case."
The KPRC story stated that least one person has filed an official complaint with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct because of the matter.
"The state panel looks into allegations of wrongdoing by judges," the KPRC story stated. "The panel conducts business largely out of the public eye, and most of the group's investigative work is not subject to open records."
The Texas State Bar disciplined Jones for an incident that allegedly occurred on Aug. 8 2012, when Jones was serving as the assistant district attorney for Polk County. Jones allegedly received text messages from then-258th Judicial District Judge Elizabeth Coker during the felony injury to a child trial for David Reeves that coached her on what to say.
As a result of the investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which regulates communication between judges and lawyers, Coker agreed to resign from her position.
To read the full text of the KPRC story, click this link.