District Judge Lonnie Cox is being accused of having “Black Robe Disease.” That’s a joking term for when a judge let’s his authority over the court go to his head, and acts like a tyrant. With a report in the Houston Chronicle describing his outbursts of temper, it seems we might have a candidate for the disease.
“It was horrible,” said Wesley Clements, a Houston Attorney who is now moving to have the judge recused. “When he started yelling like that at the top of his lungs, it got my attention.”
What angered the judge? He was seeing Maricelda Marie Aguilar, 22, during the Oct. 5 hearing regarding her violations of probation. Aguilar had been jailed for violating probation for drug use, but wrenched her way out because she had developed an infection that might come to hurt her fetus. The mysterious infection can’t even be diagnosed until after she gives birth, but it gave her leverage to get out of jail and into a drug rehabilitation center until she gives birth.
What set Cox off, however, was when he heard that Aguilar had violated her probation, missing several meetings with her probation officer. “The judge while sitting on the bench court looked at the plea paper and then screamed, ‘This is shit. This kind of bullshit is not what the drug court should be doing and it is just costing the taxpayers money,” as recorded in the recusal motion.
The judge called her worthless and asked “if she thought he would turn her loose to kill the child. He told the defendant she was worthless and then told the defendant she was not worth the paper and ink that the plea agreement was written on and proceeded to rip the papers to shred and throw the papers in the air.”
“Then he stormed out of the courtroom,” the recusal motion explained.
Cox has shown such a vicious temper before, and though there was no court secretary to record his words, there were of course witnesses, and Clements is bold enough to take him on and insist on a recusal. Judges usually win these battles, so respect is due to Clements for pursuing it. There were, after all, 14 witnesses, including Aguilar’s mother, and the combined testimony might carry some weight for the recusal motion.
“It’s what we call in the legal profession, black robe disease,” he said. “In my opinion, he’s a bully.”