A district court judge in Texas was publicly censured after he told 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 the January 2018 trial of Gloria Romero Perez, who was charged with continuous sex trafficking and the sale or purchase of a child, The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.
After being informed of the jury’s guilty verdict, Robison told the jurors he believed Perez was not guilty and that her conviction would be a miscarriage of justice.
“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 in their report.
The judge later said that he “became increasingly concerned that [he] was witnessing a miscarriage of justice,” during the trial. He confirmed he had asked jurors to deliberate 10-15 minutes more “to make certain they were not making a mistake.”
Robison received 18 other complaints related to the outburst, according to the report.
Despite his intervention in the case, the jury found Romero Perez guilty on a charge of sex trafficking. She was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.
In October 2018, Perez’s conviction was declared a mistrial after a judge found that Robison’s rulings were not in accordance to the law, the Laredo Morning Times reported.
Perez is still awaiting her new trial.