BELL COUNTY, Texas — Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown will be removed from office and suspended without pay, Judge Steve Aples said Wednesday.
Aples reached his decision after a unanimous verdict from jurors finding 16 of 17 questions concerning Brown's ethics and credibility to be true.
"It's not what I expected, however it's a decision the jury made," David Fernandez, Brown's attorney, said. "We had a very difficult case."
The courtroom fell silent as Aples addressed his ruling to Brown.
“Everybody thinks the world of you," Aples said to Brown. "You’re a credit to this community. Everybody really thinks a lot of you but the statement of jury says we need to abide by their verdict.”
Brown was brought to trial in response to a petition to remove Brown as a justice, filed by lawyer Brett Pritchard, citing, in part, an unconstitutional $4 billion bail she set in February 2017. Brown is also under fire for hearing a case regarding her own son and setting his bond, despite the ethical conflict of interest.
Brown has five days to appeal the ruling, but Fernandez isn't sure she will try for the appeal.
"She hasn't made that decision yet," Fernandez said. "Her immediate goal is to go to her office and remove all of her personal affects. She respects the Judiciary, respects the jury and that's what she's going to do for now."
Suspension will go into effect when Aples signs the order, which is expected in the coming days.