A Texas judge was suspended on Friday amid accusations that she had sexted in the courtroom, in addition to using her bailiff to buy drugs, taking home marijuana seized from a defendant, and hiring prostitutes.
Hilary H. Green’s attorney said that the ruling by the state’s Supreme Court to suspend Green, who has not been charged with a crime, was “frustrating and surprising” because the voters had long known about the allegations, which had been public, and still overwhelmingly voted to reelect her.
“She’s very popular in the precinct,” Chip Babcock told The Washington Post. “Lots of communication in the community is about how horrible this is.”
The allegations began after a divorce from City Controller Ronald C. Green, one of Houston’s most prominent politicians, with whom she had a child. Hilary Green claimed that he had cheated on her and hid assets from her, while he claimed that she “operates daily with impaired judgment as evidenced by her presiding over cases in which she has ongoing sexual relationships with litigants and witnesses.”
The allegations gained traction when Claude Barnes came forward to tell his story. Green acknowledged that he was her ex-lover but denied his claims that she had hired prostitutes for threesomes. She did, however, admit to using drugs “almost every night” for several years.
Text messages obtained by the court also showed Green texting with a bailiff, with some of the messages being overtly sexual in nature. She admitted to sometimes sending that bailiff to buy drugs, though at other times she would get them herself at “a gas station on the southwest side of Houston.”
In May, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended that Green be suspended while they worked on a case to permanently remove her.
“To this day, Judge Green has apparently made no attempt to reassign the bailiff with whom she actively participated in an inappropriate sexual texting relation and whom she recruited to assist in illegal drug activity,” wrote the executive director of the commission. “She engaged the services of a peace officer to commit a criminal act, and indeed he was apparently willing to do so. Incredibly, Judge Green sees nothing wrong with the arrangement.”
In response, her lawyer argued that the allegations were part of a bitter romantic breakup and that because Green had been democratically elected, the commission was “the anti-democratic specter of a government agency overriding the will of the people without so much as a nod or even apparent awareness of the implications of its doing so.”
The Supreme Court ultimately decided to suspend Green until a civil trial can be held to determine whether to remove her from office.