Judge Jack Robison interrupted jury deliberations in the trial of a woman accused of child sex trafficking to make a strange declaration — that God had told him the defendant was not guilty.
The incident happened in a state district court in Comal County in Texas, with the interruption taking place while jurors were deliberating on whether Gloria Romero-Perez was guilty of trafficking a 16-year-old girl for sex. Robison apologized to the jury, but said, “when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” the Herald-Zeitung reported. The judge then told the jury that God told him that the defendant was not guilty.
The report noted that Judge Robison recused himself from the remainder of the jury proceedings after his remark and another judge took his place for the remainder of the jury’s deliberations.
A report from the Statesman noted that Robison will likely land him in trouble with state officials, as he has been in the past. Robison has been disciplined by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in 2011 for jailing a grandfather who called him a fool for his ruling in a child custody case. The commission decided that Judge Robison failed to give the man advance notice of his ruling and was unfair in how he had the man thrown in jail.
The report noted that the state commission has no explicit rule against intervening in a jury’s deliberations, but it likely goes against instruction for judges to take actions that maintain public confidence and integrity of the court.
The remarks have already sparked controversy across Texas, with the Statesman noting that many people are calling for Judge Robison to be kicked off the bench. Others are outraged that he chose to spoke up during the trial of a child sex trafficking suspect — one who ended up being convicted despite Judge Robison’s interruption to inform the jury that God had informed him otherwise.
It is not clear if Judge Robison, who was voted into his position, would be kicked off the bench for his instructions to the jury.
The jurors apparently disagreed with God’s decree to Judge Jack Robison. They found Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.