Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle, July 7, 2017
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued an order to suspend Harris County Justice of the Peace Hilary Green from office immediately based on allegations that she illegally abused prescription drugs, sent sexually explicit texts to a bailiff while on the bench and paid for sex.
The state supreme court had been asked to take the unusual emergency action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which in May presented a 316-page document in support of an immediate suspension. That document summarized evidence it had collected in its own investigations of previously secret complaints made against Green from 2012 to 2015.
It’s the first time any Texas judge has received a temporary suspension in at least a decade in a contested matter, the commission says.
The commission alleged that in its own closed proceedings, Green already had admitted to many allegations against her, including illegally obtaining prescription drugs and using marijuana and Ecstasy while she was presiding over low-level drug possession cases involving juveniles in her south Houston courtroom.
In its one-page ruling, the supreme court agreed with the judicial conduct commission that the evidence, including Green’s own admissions, justified her immediate removal as the state watchdog agency prepares for a longer civil trial that’s required under Texas law to remove any elected judge from office.
Commission lawyers also argued in court filings that there are ample grounds to conclude that Green brought discredit upon the judiciary and should permanently be removed from office, including evidence that she used “her assigned bailiff in an effort to illegally obtain prescription drugs.”
She’s also been accused of lying about allegations that she abused her authority in eviction matters to favor a friend — a con man and five-time felon.
Some of the evidence used against Green first surfaced in a contentious divorce filing by her ex-husband, Ronald Green, a former city councilman and ex-controller.
Another source of complaints against Green was Claude Barnes, a former boyfriend who Green accused in her supreme court filing of threatening to destroy her after their break-up.
Barnes provided details of Green’s alleged drug abuse, detailing where and when she allegedly obtained and used prescription drugs and illegal drugs. He also has alleged that he and Green paid call girls for three-way sex, including on one occasion when Green was out of town attending a judicial conference.
The commission’s next move will be to prepare for a trial to remove Green permanently from office.