Blog Briefing Room

Judge gets warning after telling jury God told him trafficking suspect was innocent

A judge in Texas has received a public warning after telling a jury to reevaluate its guilty verdict for a trafficking suspect because God told him the defendant was innocent.

Jack Robison, a Comal County, Texas, district court judge, reported himself to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct after making the remark in January 2018, The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Robison had reportedly made the statement while overseeing a trial involving Gloria Romero Perez, who was facing charges of continuous sex trafficking and the sale or purchase of a child.

The judge told the jury that its guilty verdict would be a miscarriage of justice after the body informed him of its decision, officials with the commission wrote in their report.

"The judge later apologized to the jury, and said something to the effect of, 'When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,' " officials wrote.

The report said that Robison received 18 other complaints related to the outburst. Despite his protestations, the jury found Romero Perez guilty on a charge of sex trafficking. She was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.

But Romero Perez's conviction was declared a mistrial after another judge discovered that Robison's conduct during the hearings was not in accordance with the law.

In a self-report to the committee, Robison provided letters from medical professionals saying that the judge's outburst was the result of a "temporary, episodic medical condition referred to as a 'delirum,' " according to the commission report. The professionals said that Robison was not experiencing those conditions anymore.

Robison said that he never expressed prejudice during the trial. But he noted that his statements to the jury were reasons for disciplinary action.