Former Judge Who Was Caught Texting Instructions To Prosecutors Now Running For District Attorney Post

from the well,-at-least-it's-now-perfectly-clear-which-side-she's-on dept

Judges are supposed to be impartial arbiters of justice. However, former Texas judge Elizabeth Coker felt the prosecution needed a helping hand now and then to ensure "justice" was done and provided hints via text messages to district attorneys. Once evidence of her ex parte communications became public knowledge after an investigation, Coker resigned -- or as she put it, "took one for the team."

While I could have fought these allegations, it would have involved significant time, significant expense, and disruption to everyone involved. I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself" Coker stated.
With Coker graciously stepping aside rather than facing the consequences of her actions, many people thought the Texas judicial system was finished with the disgraced judge. And maybe it was. Unfortunately, it appears Coker's not quite finished with the Texas judicial system.
Her resignation became effective Dec. 6. Her campaign to become the district attorney of Polk County became effective Dec. 8.

“I am running for Polk County Criminal District Attorney!!!” she wrote in a Facebook post. “The support and encouragement I am receiving has been overwhelming and humbling. I want to thank all my family, friends and supporters who still want me as a public servant."
This move makes it painfully apparent where Coker's allegiances laid during her tenure as a judge. In her mind, justice is punishing alleged wrongdoers and little else. The defense of the accused runs a very distant second. Her press release posted at Polk County Today makes this even more explicit.
My reputation as a judge was being tough on crime. However, a prosecutor not only has to be tough but also smart on crime. I have the experience, knowledge and expertise to not only continue to be tough on crime but also be fiscally responsible while protecting the citizens of Polk County.
Judges are there to help ensure wrongdoers are punished, but being "tough on crime" isn't part of the job description. Apparently, Coker feels it is. She was "tough on crime" as a judge, so she pitched in and offered assistance to prosecutors and attorneys who might have otherwise made her appear slightly less "tough on crime."

Her ethics violations were enough to get her stripped of her title. Coker can't even officiate a wedding at this point, but somehow feels her very recent past should have no bearing on her future as a "tough on crime" district attorney. This is a pretty bold move for a person in her position, one that should further call into question the cases she presided over as a judge. As the Commission noted back in October, Coker showed "a bias in favor of certain attorneys and a prejudice against others in both her judicial rulings and her court appointments." This is hardly the sort of person that should be elected to another post within the judicial system. If she was willing to break rules to help ensure convictions as a judge, there's no reason to believe she'll be any better behaved as a district attorney.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 10th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Yup, that 'resignation' sure showed her...

    This just makes it all the more clear that the system should have bit the bullet, braced itself for any backlash and prosecuted her for her misconduct, not just let her off with barely a slap on the wrist as long as she 'agreed' to resign.

    Had she been charged for her misconduct, that would have been on the public records, which would have made running for any sort of public office like this extremely difficult, as simply pointing out her past misconduct would have demonstrated that she wasn't fit for any sort of authority.

    By letting her off the hook though, in an attempt to avoid any 'hassle' or embarrassment the system would have had to go through to charge, investigate, and prosecute a former judge however, it allows her to spin it as just a 'misunderstanding', and her resignation just a change in jobs, rather than the punishment that it replaced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Mike Dee, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 6:27pm

    She has to know this will be brought up during the campaign.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 6:29pm

    Simple solution if she wins.Charge her with past actions as judge and assign her the case of prosecuting herself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Jan 10th, 2014 @ 6:38pm

    Re:

    Mike Dee wrote:
    She has to know this will be brought up during the campaign.

    She's probably counting on it.
    Sadly enough, it just might help her campaign. "Tough on crime" and all...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 6:57pm

    Re:

    It is in Texas so being biased against the accused might on its own be a huge advantage for her campaign. "tough on crime" is such a cheesy slogan that using it should be enough to throw her in jail.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 7:04pm

    Tough on crime unless those crimes are her own and then we will just kind of let it slide. But everybody else, look out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 8:24pm

    They had a prosecutor like this for the Duke rape case.

    After due considerations he was fired and disbarred.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 1:53am

    Crooked ex-judge to become criminal prosecutor what could go wrong?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    In her eyes, all defendants are guilty, some just lie about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 11th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Re:

    Well of course, innocent people never find themselves under the cross-hairs and in court, so if they're sitting before a judge, they much be guilty of something. /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    Nifong was also pushed into bankruptcy
    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/mike-nifong-bankrupt

    And that is exactly what you do to crooked public official. Make it personal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re:

    Well, some argue that Texas should be given back to Mexico.
    This crooked judge makes an excellent case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    At least she is only running and will hopefully not be elected.

    What she did could not be more wrong, but she is a rank amateur in comparison with Alcee Hastings, a former Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida. He was impeached for taking bribes, convicted in the Senate, and then removed from office. His response? He ran for the House of Representatives, won, and has been the representative for the district since 1993.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    'I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself' but screwing over people by running for the position as a DA, assuming all opposition will be withdrawn now, via txt message of course, is?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2014 @ 10:53pm

    Typical TD straw man argument

    Look, someone did something wrong, therefore EVERYONE who EVER did something wrong should be let off and allowed to do what they like!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 1:06am

    No the point of the discussion is who did what wrong.

    It was not Aaron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Re: Typical TD straw man argument

    non sequitur

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2014 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Typical TD straw man argument

    You appear to be the one posting the strawman here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 13th, 2014 @ 2:40am

    Really. Coker being thought on crime opens a world of hilarity in my opinion...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 13th, 2014 @ 5:51am

    Those who cannot learn from history

    There's no reason to believe she'll be any better behaved as a district attorney.
    Here's hoping she texts instructions to a judge and finally gets disbarred and prosecuted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 13th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    Re: Those who cannot learn from history

    As pessimistic and cynical as it may sound, if they weren't willing to deal with the hassle to prosecute and charge her when she was a judge, the odds of them willing to do so to a DA are all but non-existent.

    A better hope will be an someone else running against her, who is able and willing to dig up just what happened and make it public, showing just how bad it would be having her in such a powerful position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This