On Monday a petition was filed on behalf of Grassroots America-We The People to have embattled Judge, Joel Baker, removed from office.

Baker is currently the subject of a number of investigations from both the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The Attorney General is looking into a possible violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act when Baker met in executive session to discuss an American Traffic Solutions Contract. The Judicial Conduct Commission investigation is looking into Baker allegedly sexting while on the job.

“Judge Baker’s approval and execution of an unconstitutional services agreement (with ATS) and failure to adhere to appropriate procedures and processes concerning the same were an intentional or corrupt failure, refusal or neglect of his duties sufficient to constitute official misconduct. Judge Baker’s inappropriate ‘sexting’ of an anonymous female during SCJC meetings, while conducting county government business and while on taxpayer-funded trips clearly amounts to official misconduct as well.”

Although the petition was filed in the 7th District Court with presiding Judge Kerry Russell, Russell has since recused himself. Russell has requested Judge Mary Murphy of the First Administration Judicial Region to hear the case.

Although two Smith County Commissioners have joined in calls for the Judge’s resignation, he is refusing to do so and shows no signs of wavering.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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