HOUSTON - A former state district judge is appealing a public admonition issued by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Judge Stacey Bond initially presided over the case of “Jenny,” a mentally ill rape victim who was eventually placed in jail to ensure her testimony.
“Jenny” suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her attacker. At the behest of prosecutors, Bond signed an order to have “Jenny” taken into custody to ensure she would return to court to complete her testimony.
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“Jenny” was initially taken to a hospital for treatment before being discharged and placed in the Harris County jail. As Channel 2 Investigates reported, “Jenny” spent 27 days in jail, where some members of the staff were unaware she was a victim and not a defendant.
The Judicial Conduct Commission concluded Bond “failed to comply with the law, to maintain professional competence in the law, and to afford Jane Doe the right to be heard.”
Bond is appealing the Commission’s conclusions. The Texas Supreme Court’s chief justice chose three justices to preside over a special court of review. This is the process by which Commission findings can be appealed. The special court of review has 60 days to issue a ruling.
“Jenny” is suing the county, and her attorney, Sean Buckley, defends the judge’s actions. Buckley maintains the order was signed based on bad information from the prosecutor.
“We never felt she acted wrongfully with regard to 'Jenny.' In fact, I saw her as someone who'd been, in a sense, victimized herself by untruthful prosecutors,” said Buckley.
The prosecutor in the case, Nick Socias, was fired when Kim Ogg took office as district attorney in 2017. Socias maintained “Jenny” was a danger to herself and he tried unsuccessfully to find other accommodations to keep her safe until she completed her testimony.
Following KPRC’s series of reports into this case, a new law was passed to ensure greater protection for individuals taken into custody under so-called “witness bonds.”
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