UPDATE: Bell County Justice of the Peace will be removed


It is the first time in over 30 years that an elected official in Bell County will be removed from their position.

Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown will be cleaning out her Killeen office in the morning after a jury found she is incompetent to continue in the courtroom.

“I’m glad it’s over for her, it’s been a long two years, shes been bombarded with all kinds of accusations, been called names on Facebook, you know she’s 79 years old, she doesn’t deserve that,” said David Fernandez, Attorney representing Claudia Brown.

This, stemming from a decision Brown made two years ago. In February 2017, she chose to make a point regarding high bonds in the justice system by setting a $4 billion bond for a murder suspect.

“She raised a very important issue about how poor people are treated with regards to bonds in Bell County, the district court judges are reviewing every bond that justice of the peace have written for people that are still in jail,” said Fernandez.

A Killeen lawyer, Brett Pritchard, filed a petition to remove Brown after making that choice.

“She may have picked an inappropriate way to do it, by setting a four billion dollar bond, but she started that conversation, she started that movement,” said Fernandez.

After several trial delays, Judge Brown had her own day in cout where 13 witnesses — including herself — testified within three days about her ability to do her job.

“She’s admitted her mistakes, obviously she regrets some of them, because some of them were done intentionally,” said Fernandez.

Throughout the trial, the state tried to convince the jury that Brown committed misconduct in several occasions by setting unreasonable bonds, setting her own son’s DWI bond, and not performing her duties as Justice of the Peace correctly.

“Well obviously I disagree with the verdict, but this jury, they listened to the evidence, they listened to our argument, they listened to judge Brown and they did what they thought was right and I certainly can’t argue with a jury like that,” said Fernandez.

The defense claimed Brown made a mistake and that does not mean she is incompetent or ignorant, adding she accepted full responsibility.

“I congratulated her for what she’s done throughout her life, a PHD at 65, Killeen City Council, she’s a leader and when no one else in her community would run for judge, she said well if no one else is going to do it, i’m going to do it, so in that respect she reminds me of Rosa Parks, no one else did it so Rosa Parks did it,” added Fernandez.

Visiting State Judge Stephen Ables will now fill out the paperwork to remove Brown from her position.

Her team is now deciding if they are going to file an appeal.

Below is the original text from this story:

The jury has found Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown will be removed.

Jury finds Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown is unfit to hold office.

Judge Brown was on trial for setting a record-breaking $4 billion bond two years ago to prove a point regarding high bonds in the justice system.

Several witnesses testified on Wednesday about the judge’s ability in the courtroom.

The jury was asked to answer true or not true to 17 questions regarding Judge Brown’s ability to do her job as Justice of the Peace.

For more information, you can view our previous story here.

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