A major political bombshell comes just days before the election of many Harris County criminal judges.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed a formal complaint with the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission over alleged misconduct by Judge Darrell Jordan, the current administrative judge of the Harris County Misdemeanor Courts.
The 26-page complaint alleges Judge Jordan accused prosecutors of racial bias and improperly injecting race into the proceedings in his court — telling prosecutors they reminded him “of a slave driver, you whip the slaves, work them in the field, and mistreat them.”
The complaint details the threatening treatment of an African-American prosecutor when they declined to grant pretrial diversion to an African-American defendant during a plea proceeding. Judge Jordan ordered the prosecutor to “Turn around and look at the people sitting down. Everybody in here looks like you.”
The District Attorney’s office complained the commentary was outside “the ethical boundaries of judicial conduct.”
The complaint details allegations Jordan threatened prosecutors in chambers for “disrespecting” him when he found out that a case he had found no probable cause in might be re-filed. One memo from a prosecutor said Jordan described himself not as a judge, but the “king” of Court 16. There are claims Jordan threatened prosecutors with contempt behind closed doors.
Dolcefino Consulting learned of the Judicial Conduct Commission complaint after company President Wayne Dolcefino was held in contempt by Jordan and jailed overnight in the Harris County Jail. Hidden camera footage proved that Jordan’s basis for holding Dolcefino in contempt was false. Dolcefino’s appeal is pending in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
The District Attorney’s Office complaint was filed just two months before then felony administrative Judge Maria Jackson filed her own Judicial Conduct Commission complaint. Judge Jackson also accused Jordan of hostility, claiming that Jordan “verbally intimidated me to the point of fear for my physical wellbeing.” Jackson also stated that Jordan’s “bullying, yelling and intimidation would not be tolerated in any other setting.”
“A day after the meeting, I saw a man on the street who looked like Judge Jordan and felt physically in fear,” Jackson said. Jackson is an African American judge who also ran against Rodney Ellis for County Commissioner. Commissioner Ellis is the largest donor to the Jordan campaign.
The District Attorney’s complaint was filed in April of 2019 after complaints from prosecutors in the misdemeanor division, but both District Attorney Kim Ogg and Judge Jordan fought to keep it secret. The Texas Attorney General ruled the complaint and prosecutor’s memos about Jordan’s purported conduct were public records. Dolcefino Consulting agreed to redact the names of prosecutors out of fear of retaliation by Judge Jordan and other misdemeanor court judges so the complaint could be released.
There is no evidence the Judicial Conduct Commission has taken action on either complaint.
“I think the public has a fundamental right to know whether justice was handed out based on race. Racial bias has no place in criminal justice, whatever color it is,” said Dolcefino Consulting President Wayne Dolcefino. “I also think Kim Ogg has to explain why she kept this alleged injustice secret from the voters. Sure — they are both democrats — but justice has to take precedence over political parties. People deserve to know this before they reelect a judge with clear biases.”