A Dallas judge was reprimanded for shaming jurors who convicted a rapist and sentenced him to 99 years, as well as for attempting to use her position to intervene in a case against her nephew.
According to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, District Judge Teresa Hawthorne violated regulations when she used “the prestige of her office to help resolve her nephew’s pending case” and “failed to treat jurors … with patience, dignity and courtesy when she shamed and reprimanded them before their verdict.”
Jurors in a rape case told the commission that the judge had shamed them for coming back with the guilty verdict, and at least three jurors recalled that Hawthorne had told them that she “did not believe the victim was raped at all.”
“Quite frankly, I am disturbed,” one juror recalled Hawthorne saying, according to the reprimand. “I am disturbed by the way you came back with such a harsh verdict and sentence for this man’s life in such a short period of time. Did you even discuss the details of this case at all?”
While Hawthorne acknowledged that she told the jury she would have found the man not guilty, she denied she had made the other comments.
“Judge Hawthorne stated that the jurors became shocked and angered when they heard she would have not found the defendant guilty,” according to the commission. “The judge denied that she shamed or reprimanded the jury for their verdict. She stated that she regrets ‘that all of this happened’ and that she ‘never intended to upset anyone’ but she could not lie to the jury when they asked her what she thought of the case.”
What’s more, in a case involving her nephew, the judge, according to the commission, called up District Judge Bob Darnell in Lubbock County to ask him to withdraw the warrant and continued to call him about the case, even testifying in court as a character witness for her nephew without being subpoenaed.
Hawthorne has denied that she and Darnell ever “communicated with each other without the assistant district attorney being involved.”
The details of her nephew’s case were not made available, and the nephew was not named in the reprimand.