Although it is in a Second Special Session dominated by talk about abortion, Texas’ House may be shifting its focus towards judicial impeachment.
HR 106B, filed on July 16, seeks to suspend from office and impeach Judge Elizabeth Coker a District Judge in
Houston (Harris County) Polk County (updated 8/19/13).
The impeachment accusations, as well as those currently being investigated by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct, alleged that Judge Coker coached prosecutors from the bench during a criminal trial in August 2012. This article from KPRC Houston gives details. The prosecutor, who is now a judge, confirmed that Coker sent her texts during the trial suggesting lines of questioning the prosecutor should take.
The three operative clauses of HR 106B read as follows:
RESOLVED, That the Texas House of Representatives impeach Judge Elizabeth Coker, Judge of the 258th Judicial District; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That in accordance with Section 5, Article XV, Texas Constitution, Judge Elizabeth Coker, Judge of the 258th Judicial District, be suspended from the exercise of the duties of her office during the pendency of her impeachment, and that the governor may make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy occasioned by the suspension of Judge Coker until the conclusion of her trial by the Senate on the impeachment charges; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 83rd Texas Legislature conduct an investigation under Section 1, Article XV, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 665, Government Code, prepare appropriate articles of impeachment against Judge Elizabeth Coker, Judge of the 258th Judicial District, and consider those articles for presentment to the Texas Senate.