Sun. Jul 14th, 2024
alert-–-shocking-outburst-of-troubled-texas-judge-after-she-was-pulled-over-on-suspicion-of-driving-under-the-influenceAlert – Shocking outburst of troubled Texas judge after she was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence

Two careers hung in the balance as a Texas traffic cop and a senior judge dueled it out for 45 minutes on a Houston highway after he pulled her over for multiple traffic violations.

Harris County District Court Judge Kelli Johnson was quick to let the officer know who she was, and demand he call her friends in the police department after he stopped her on US290 on April 12.

Footage from both police bodycams  at the scene was rendered useless by a mysterious ‘obstruction’, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

But audio recorded Sgt. Colin McHugh telling her she had been speeding, eating and looking at her phone, making unsafe lane changes, and that he could smell alcohol.

‘I could lose my entire career,’ Johnson told him.

‘And here’s the thing, your honor,’ he replied. ‘I could lose my entire career if I let you use your position of you being a judge to do this.’

The glamorous Democrat had spent the week presiding over the trial of Brian Coulter, shortly to be convicted over the murder of his girlfriend’s son, whose body was left to rot for a year.

‘I’m a judge,’ she told McHugh.

‘You’re a judge?’ he replied.

‘A criminal district judge. Yes,’ she confirmed.

McHugh told her why he had stopped her before a second officer arrived to conduct a field sobriety test.

She asked the second officer for a supervisor, telling her: ‘If I do this test and you don’t think I do well, I lose my career and this.

‘I mean, can you call, like, a witness? Can we call Ben Katrib? I’ll call Sidney Miller. Sheriff Gonzalez.

‘This is a huge deal for me.’

The second officer told McHugh about her request and he returned to the car.

‘Ma’am, here’s the thing,’ he told her. ‘I am her supervisor, OK? She is asking you to exit the car so she can administer her SFST to you.

‘Everything we do is recorded on that camera. This body camera. Everything here. We are not calling Lt. Katrib, and we are not calling Sheriff Gonzalez.

‘This is an investigation into an impaired driver.’

‘I could lose my entire career,’ Johnson told him.

‘And here’s the thing, your honor, I could lose my entire career if I let you use your position of you being a judge to do this,’ he replied.

‘I’m not using a position,’ she insisted.

Johnson who was elected in 2017 is one of the state’s most high-profile judges having presided over cases including that of former NFL star Antonio Armstrong Jr who was convicted of killing his parents as a 16-year-old in 2016.

She is the first openly gay female judge elected in Harris County and has two sons, a 12-year-old and an 11-month-old, with her wife Hilary Bartlett.

She was days away from taking a medical leave of absence from the bench with one courthouse employee telling local news station KTRK she exhibited ‘manic behavior’, and on May 4 police would be called to the house she shares with her family for a ‘crisis intervention’.

McHugh told her both he and his colleague could smell alcohol on her breath and demanded she get out of the car.

‘She sees your eyes are red and bloodshot,’ he told her. ‘Now as the wind is blowing, I do smell it.’

The test was carried out and Johnson failed a couple of indicators but decided that the failures were not significant enough to warrant an arrest.

‘She’s probably been drinking, just not the level of,’ he told his colleague.

‘So I’m going to write you a warning citation for the speeding, 77 in a 65 and let it go at that,’ he told Johnson.

‘Fair enough? Alright.’

Retired Houston Police Department Captain Greg Fremin said the judge had had a very narrow escape.

‘She’s lucky she got off with a warning, considering the multiple traffic violations,’ he told ABC13.

Harris County Sheriff’s’ Office said their officers had played it by the book.

‘Deputies use discretion with the issuance of citations,’ Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland told the station in an email.

‘A total of 64 percent of HCSO traffic stops result in either a written or verbal warning.

‘The standardized field sobriety test (SFST) is a nationally recognized examination used to establish probable cause to assess for impairment.

‘If there are not enough signs to indicate impairment, then an arrest would not be an appropriate course of action.’

error: Content is protected !!