A Texas judge presiding over a sex trafficking case has been reprimanded after telling a jury to continue deliberating because God apparently told him the defendant was innocent.
A disciplinary document from the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct revealed
Judge Jack Robison reported himself to the commission on Jan. 12, 2018.
Robison was leading the trial of Gloria Romero Perez, who was charged with ongoing sex trafficking and the sale or purchase of a child. After the jury informed the judge they had decided on a guilty verdict, he asked them to keep deliberating, saying that “her conviction would be a miscarriage of justice.”
“The Judge indicated to the jury that God told him Defendant was innocent, and urged them to reconsider their verdict,” states the report. It also notes he told them to “deliberate 10 to 15 minutes more…to make certain they were not making a mistake.”
Later on, Robison apologized and, according to the report, “said something to the effect of, ‘When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it.’”
The document reveals the judge was the subject of 18 complaints following the incident.
Still, the jury wound up finding the defendant guilty on one charge of sex trafficking. The report states Perez was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Robison, meanwhile, stepped down from the sentencing portion of the case per the prosecution’s request.
Yet in October 2018, Perez’s case was declared a mistrial after Judge Gary Steele found Robison’s rulings were not in accordance with the law. Currently, Perez continues to await a retrial, court documents show.
After Robison reported himself to the commission he said he believed the prosecution did not provide adequate evidence to sustain a guilty verdict.
His self-report, written to the commission on January 18, 2018, also explained his behavior.
Robison’s report said he “immediately” realized he did not exercise proper conduct and claimed he was “under extreme personal stressors” and being treated for a critical medical condition. That on top of coping with the death of a close friend ahead of Perez’s trial set was one of the triggers.
Letters provided by medical experts who examined him of his own volition stated the “most plausible explanation” is that he was experiencing “delirium” as a result of personal stressors, his medical condition and the medication he was on in that period to treat his ailment, the disciplinary report states. The professionals concluded Robison does not, however, currently suffer from any impairment.
Robison went before the commission on Feb. 6 and testified he hasn’t experienced delirium since then. They determined the justice made “improper” communications with the jury and engaged in conduct that cast public discredit upon the administration of justice.
“Judge Robison readily acknowledged his conduct with respect to the jury was improper, and asserted his actions were entirely out of character for him and an aberration in his long judicial career,” according to the report.
The judge was given a public warning to, the report notes, help him “in his continued judicial service” and try to “protect public confidence in the judicial system.”
Issuing a public warning is a worse punishment than a private one but it’s not as serious as a suspension, which is considered the most serious disciplinary action the committee can vote on.