Ex-Texas judge challenges citations in rape victim case
HOUSTON (AP) — A former Texas judge is fighting disciplinary sanctions by the state’s watchdog agency for issuing a court order that landed a mentally ill rape victim in jail.
Stacey Bond, a Harris County judge from 2013 to 2016, is challenging disciplinary action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct while she campaigns for another court seat this fall, the Houston Chronicle reported . The commission cited Bond in March for her actions involving an unidentified witness who had a mental breakdown while testifying in a 2015 sexual assault trial.
The commission’s findings show Bond issued a bench warrant to ensure the woman would resume her testimony. The woman was committed to a mental hospital and later transferred to Harris County jail for nearly a month. The woman was accidently booked as a defendant rather than a witness. The victim was assaulted by an inmate while in the county lockup and charged after an altercation with a guard.
The commission ruled that Bond denied the victim due process.
The victim’s jailing spurred legislators to pass a law guaranteeing that witnesses or sexual assault victims receive a court-appointed lawyer and a formal hearing before a judge can order them into custody to secure their testimony at trial.
Bond will present oral arguments challenging the commission’s citations before the Texas Supreme Court next week.
Bond declined comment. Her attorney, Mac Secrest, said the commission’s disciplinary action against Bond was “inconsistent with the actual facts of this matter and with applicable law.”
“We look forward to having an opportunity to fully and fairly explain just what actually occurred in this unfortunate incident,” he said.
Bond has testified before the commission that she didn’t intend to jail the victim but to allow the district attorney’s office to bring the witness to the court.
Bond won the Republican primary in March and she’s on the November ballot for state district judge in the 185th district court.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com