Harris County judge suspended without pay amid drug, prostitution allegations

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - A Harris County judge was suspended without pay after allegations of drug abuse and other misconduct.  

On Friday The Texas Supreme Court made the ruling of Hilary H. Green, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 7.

"I was a little surprised, obviously disappointed and puzzled because there was substantial constitutional issues raised before the court, but it ruled without argument in a ruling that didn’t address any of the arguments that Judge Green put forth, which we thought was unusual," explained Chip Babcock, Green’s attorney.

Babcock said Green did admit to using cough syrup without a prescription three years ago for respiratory problems and before she would go to sleep, but never took it on the bench.

He said based on Friday’s decision, Green’s odds are not high that she could ever come back to the bench as a judge, and they are considering their options.

"She's got several options:  she can go back to the Supreme Court and reconsider, she can go back to the commission and go through their procedures which would likely mean an appointment of a judge for trial, but this order today effectively means that she'll lose her job unless the Supreme Court reconsiders," explained Babcock.

The popular judge was reelected and won with majority of the votes in the last election even after the allegations surfaced.

According to court documents earlier this year, Green’s former boyfriend claimed Green obtained drugs from her courtroom bailiff, and stated the two used code words in their text messages, including "nuts and bolts" to describe Tussionex, "cookie dough" to describe cocaine and "Skittles" to describe Ecstasy.

"She does not have a substance abuse problem, and the commission isn't alleging that she does. These allegations are stemming from somebody who is vowing to destroy her and her career, and it's more than four years ago for the most recent allegation, and it stretches seven or eight years," said Babcock in a May interview when the allegations surfaced.

[READ: The Commission on Judicial Conduct case]

According to documents, in a sworn affidavit, Green’s former boyfriend claims he and Green used the website Backpage.com to hire prostitutes on two occasions.

He stated Green paid a woman in Houston $150 for sexual services and also hired a prostitute in Austin and paid her $200.

Babcock said those allegations are false and plans to argue that Green can’t be removed from office because the alleged incidents occurred before November 2016, which is when she was re-elected to office.

"Hashtag scandalous, there's really no other way to put it, but they're allegations,” said KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice. "And like any other allegation, in any kind of case where someone’s life or liberty or freedom or future is at stake, we have to reserve judgment until these allegations are proven to the satisfaction of the people who are above our paygrade."

Wice said Commissioner’s Court would be responsible for appointing someone to Green’s position until the next election.

"What we’ve seen in Judge Green’s case is unusual," said Wice. "Does that mean these allegations are true? Absolutely not. That means we have to reserve judgment until a three-judge panel can determine whether these allegations have any basis," said Wice. "If they do so then Judge Green won’t be a judge for the rest of her life and that’s sad, but the people who wear robes are held to a higher standard than you and I. They are home plate umpires in game 7 of the series. They determine so many things that impact our lives, our futures and our liberty that we expect them to be perfect on the first day and get better."

Download the Click2Houston news app in your app store to stay up-to-date with the latest news while you're on the go.

Sign up for KPRC 2 newsletters to get breaking news, sports, entertainment, contests and more delivered straight to your email inbox.

Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.