An email written by Dallas Democrat District Judge Eric Moyé—who fined and jailed salon owner and current state senate candidate Shelley Luther—appears to suggest the judge has a biased judicial philosophy.

In an email between Moyé and fellow Democrat District Judge Staci Williams on April 27, it seems that Moyé’s judicial philosophy is revealed. In a conversation regarding an issue Williams was dealing with in her court, she complained to Moyé, “Some folks are playing hardball.” Moyé replied:

“Just remember, you have the ball. And the bat. And oh YOU are the umpire!!!”

This viewpoint is in stark contrast to the philosophy espoused by U.S. Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, where he promoted the idea that judges ought to act as umpires, not players, meaning they impartially apply the rules as players try to win the game.

On May 5, after Shelley Luther reopened her salon in defiance of government mandates, Moyé fined and jailed her for violating a court order after reopening. He offered Luther the opportunity to decide what her level of punishment would be by apologizing. She refused and was sent to jail.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement demanding Luther’s release, to which the 12 state district judges in Dallas and Dallas Councilman Omar Narvaez shot back in their own response, rebuking Paxton.

Two days later, the Texas Supreme Court ordered Luther’s release.

After the judges’ public response to Paxton, Texas Scorecard sent a series of Texas Judicial Rule 12 requests—which are open records requests for Texas judges—to each Dallas district judge, requesting all of their communications with each other during the time period of Luther’s conflict with government orders.

It was through those requests we obtained this email correspondence between Moyé and Williams.

Moyé is up for re-election this November and is being challenged by Republican nominee Jessica Lewis.

This article has been updated since publication. 

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.