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Trial date set for Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown

Oct. 1 has been set as the trial date for a court petition calling for the removal of Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown who made national headlines when she set a $4 billion bond for a Killeen murder suspect.

BELL COUNTY — A court petition to remove Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown has received a trial date of Oct. 1.

Brown is serving her first year as Bell County Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4, Place 1. This is the second petition filed that has called for her removal. Brown spoke with Channel 6 News Reporter Emani Payne about the upcoming trial Wednesday afternoon, calling the situation unfair.

"I feel like I shouldn't have to go through this in the first place. Being the first black, the first democrat, the first woman to ever win an election, I expect to be tested. This is new and for decades things have been the same," said Brown.

The first petition came after Brown made several controversial judiciary decisions.

This included a lawsuit filed against Brown for setting a historic $4 billion bond for a Killeen murder suspect, possibly setting a national record, to highlight what she called needed bond reform. Opponents said the bond violated the suspect's eighth amendment rights because it would have been impossible to pay. It's a decision Brown says she would take back today if she could.

"I would undo it if I could, I would definitely not do it," Brown said.

Later the same year Brown was met with backlash for setting her own son's DUI bond at $2,000.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct addressed the first petition in December 2017. In its decision, the state judicial panel required Brown attend two hours of additional judicial education but allowed her to keep her office.

Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols filed the second amended petition July 26.

Brown says she has no plans of stepping down, she isn't sure how the trial will go but says in some ways it's taking a toll.

"I love my job it's my happy place, but when I have to face all of this other business it is disconcerting," Brown said.

Brown said she's chosen to focus on the love of the job to get her through the coming days.

"It's not easy but we just keep doing our job and just moving on," Brown said.

Brown did have a legal team but has since let them go. Brown said there are a group of people interested in representing her in the trial, but she's not yet sure if she will head in that direction or represent herself.

In a Facebook post, Brown wrote she thinks the petition is racially charged and called it a "character assassination."

District Judge Stephen Ables of the 216th District Court in Kerr County will preside over the case.

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