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Texas judge, forced to resign after texting prosecutors during trial, now running for district attorney

By George Chidi
Sunday, December 15, 2013 22:01 EDT
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Elizabeth Coker agreed in October to resign her seat as a judge in Polk County, Texas, after an investigation into text messages she sent to prosecutors giving advice during trials.

Her resignation became effective Dec. 6. Her campaign to become the district attorney of Polk County became effective Dec. 8.

“I am running for Polk County Criminal District Attorney!!!” she wrote in a Facebook post. “The support and encouragement I am receiving has been overwhelming and humbling. I want to thank all my family, friends and supporters who still want me as a public servant.”

Coker resigned ahead of a State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigation into text messages and other improper ex parte communications and meetings with prosecutors in the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney, and certain defense attorneys regarding various cases pending in her court.

The commission noted that she “allegedly exhibited a bias in favor of certain attorneys and a prejudice against others in both her judicial rulings and her court appointments.” Investigators also expressed concerns that Coker “discussed the Commission’s investigation and [her] written responses to the investigation with a material witness prior to that witness’ testimony before the Commission in an apparent attempt to influence that witness, and that the judge may not have been candid and truthful in her testimony before the Commission when questioned about her contact with the witness.”

Coker’s announcement on PolkCountyToday.com said that she had “seen firsthand the need for improvement in the District Attorney’s office: A better working relationship with all the law enforcement agencies in our great county; better communication with witnesses and victims; utilizing assistant prosecutors and staff to their fullest extent; training the newest prosecutors and taking a proactive approach to managing the office while being mindful of taxpayers’ money.”

 
 
 
 
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