A North Texas judge who will be voting on an important Child Protective Services-related decision is facing questions of bias after several social media posts and photographs surfaced. His responses to our inquiries added even more questions to allegations that he has been influenced by powerful parties seeking to overturn the results of an election out of spite to another judge for his impartiality and saving a baby’s life.
Last Thursday, Texas Scorecard broke the story that an emergency meeting of Tarrant County judges had been called for this Thursday, February 20, to decide whether to remove all CPS cases from the 323rd District Court, where Judge Alex Kim presides. Allegations have been swirling that Judge David Evans, an appointee of Rick Perry, called the meeting under the influence of Cook Children’s Medical Center, CPS, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Tarrant County. Sources allege this meeting is retribution for Kim following the law as well as his intervention to save the life of baby Tinslee Lewis.
As part of our investigation, Texas Scorecard reached out to all of the judges who will be voting on the matter regarding Kim and how they will be voting.
One judge, Jesus “Jesse” Nevarez Jr. of the 231st District Court, gave a curious response.
When asked if anyone from Cook Children’s, CASA, or CPS had spoken to him about the issue, Nevarez hesitated. He then refused to answer before denying any such contact took place.
Since that time, Texas Scorecard has received screenshots of social media posts made by Nevarez’s court coordinator, LeeAnn Moore. The photos of Nevarez with CASA volunteers are from September through November of 2019.
“It’s great to get to be a part of something that is doing so many good things in Tarrant County,” Moore wrote in the September 27 post. “Thank you Don Binnicker for including the 231st in this special day!”
Binnicker, the CEO of CASA Tarrant, has photos of himself with Kim’s 2018 opponent—Judge James Teel—and dodged questions about his involvement in the Kim situation.
In the October 14 post, Moore wrote: “The 231st loves being a part of such a great organization!”
Multiple sources in Tarrant County allege that CASA of Tarrant County is among those influencing Judge David Evans—who oversees all district judges of Tarrant and 17 other counties in the region—to take CPS cases away from Kim.
Texas Scorecard sent a follow-up email Thursday morning to Nevarez, in which we posed the following questions:
- In our prior discussion, you had said neither CASA, CPS, or Cook Children’s had contacted you regarding the upcoming vote to remove CPS cases from Judge Kim’s court, correct?
- Due to the postings of your coordinator, it must be asked what the nature of your working relationship with CASA of Tarrant County is.
- Considering the allegations that CASA Tarrant is one of the organizations behind pushing for CPS cases to be removed from Judge Kim’s court, do these public postings from your court’s coordinator raise questions about your impartiality on this matter in the upcoming vote on Thursday?
Four days passed with no reply. On Monday morning, we reached out to Nevarez to confirm whether he had received our email. He replied:
“Good morning. I received your email. The answer to your question is no. Thanks.”
Nevarez and his Associate Judge Lindsey Devos were seen at a meeting on Tuesday where Kim’s 2018 opponent, Judge James Teel, spoke on the subject of CPS cases. Nevarez left the room shortly after photos of him were taken and before Teel spoke.
Also seen was Associate Judge Lori DeAngelis, who works under Judge Judith Wells of the 325th District Court.
Wells is known to be against Kim. Both Nevarez and Wells will be among those judges voting on whether CPS cases will be removed from Kim’s court, overturning the will of the voters who hired Kim for that job.
Nevarez would not tell Texas Scorecard how he plans to vote.
The judges will be meeting on February 20 at 12:15 pm. Sources have claimed Judge David Evans has closed the meeting to the public and moved it to Judge Hennigan’s courtroom on the fourth floor of the Family Law Center at 200 E. Weatherford Street.
The original location for the public meeting is the assembly room on the second floor at the same address.
Voters may contact Judge Nevarez, as well as all other judges, who will be voting on this matter.
Judge Jesse Nevarez Jr.: 817-884-3796; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley: 817-884-1441; firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge David Evans: 817-884-2690
Judge John Chupp: 817-884-1992
Judge Don Cosby: 817-884-1452
Judge Wayne Salvant: 817-884-1347
Judge David Hagerman: 817-884-1908; email@example.com
Judge Kenneth E. Newell: 817-884-1794; firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge James B. Munford: 817-884-1427
Judge Judith Wells: 817-884-1537; email@example.com
Judge Patricia Bennett: 817-884-2708
Judge Melody Wilkinson: 817-884-1460
Judge R.H. Wallace: 817-884-1452
Judge Jerry Hennigan: 817-884-1432
Judge Kimberly Fitzpatrick: 817-884-2710; Kfitzpatrick@tarrantcounty.com
Judge Josh Burgess: 817-884-2730; firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Elizabeth Beach: 817-884-1351; email@example.com
Judge Robb Catalano: 817-884-1356; firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Ruben Gonzalez: 817-884-2935
Judge Susan Heygood-McCoy: 817-884-2691; email@example.com
Judge Tom Lowe: 817-884-1709; firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Mike Thomas 817-884-1362
Judge Chris Wolfe: 817-884-1529
Judge Mollee Westfall: 817-884-2985
Judge Scott Wisch: 817-884-2990; email@example.com
Judge George Gallagher: 817-884-2765