Clay Robison writes in his column today in the Houston Chronicle that Sharon Keller
was re-elected to the all-Republican court last year and won’t face the voters again until 2012. Although races for this court normally generate little public attention, the furor could give Democrats some ammunition.
It was interesting to note that Judges Cathy Cochran and Paul Womack, who will be on the ballot next year, were complaining publicly about Keller’s unilateral decision.
Cochran and Womack should probably do more than just complain publicly about Keller. They may be obligated by judicial ethics to file a complaint against Keller. The Texas Code of Judicial Conduct says that:
a judge who receives information clearly establishing that another judge has committed a violation of this Code should take appropriate action. A judge having knowledge that another judge has committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question as to the other judge’s fitness for office shall inform the State Commission on Judicial Conduct or take other appropriate action.
The Code further defines the word shall by saying that ‘”Shall” or “shall not” denotes binding obligations the violation of which can result in disciplinary action.’
So, if Womack, Cochran and other CCA judges who know what happened, do not file a complaint against Keller with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, then they themselves could be disciplined, if someone files a complaint regarding their failure to act against Keller.
Certainly, their failure to act, which would constitute a failure to uphold the integrity of the Court, could become a campaign issue.