US /

Judge Interrupts Jury to Deliver Message From God

Texas jurors ignored his plea not to convict in sex trafficking case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2018 6:25 PM CST
Judge Interrupts Jury to Deliver Message From God
   (Getty/Marilyn Nieves)

A strange court controversy out of Texas, where a judge interrupted jurors deciding a defendant's fate in a sex-trafficking case and urged them not to convict. Twice. Later, state district judge Jack Robison explained that God told him to do so, reports the Austin American-Statesman. And the kicker: The jury ignored him and convicted anyway. "He said he had thought it over and prayed on it and that God told him that he had to say this," the jury foreman tells the San Antonio Express-News. "He was obviously troubled, very serious about it. It completely took everyone by surprise." Robison then excused himself from the penalty phase of the trial after explaining what he had done to the lawyers involved in the case.

"It's probably the most unusual thing I've experienced in 20 years as an attorney," says Sylvia Cavazos, who represented the woman convicted in the case. "Judge Robison apologized in open court to the jury, saying something to the effect that 'I apologize but, if God tells me to do something, I have to do it.'" In the case itself, 32-year-old Gloria Romero Perez was convicted of trafficking in regard to a teenage relative she brought to Texas from Honduras. The girl ended up pregnant. Robison apparently believed the evidence against Perez wasn't strong enough. So far, one complaint has been filed to state judicial authorities over the judge's actions. He was previously reprimanded in 2011 for imprisoning a man who called him a fool in court. (More judge stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.