On Monday, January 30, 2023, the State of Texas Special Court of Review dismissed the complaint against Hon. Rosie Speedlin-Gonzales, Judge of the County Court at Law No. 13 in San Antonio Bexar County.
The case is entitled “In the matter of Rosie Speelin-Gonzales” with case no. 9-1038, 19-1736, 20-0121, and 20-0267.
The charges cited Code of Judicial Conduct 2b which states:
“A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others”.
On March 18, 2022, in A Public Admonition and Order of Additional Education, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct sanctioned the respondent with Public Admonition for posting messages on the Judicial Facebook page congratulating attorneys for verdicts in her court and applauding those attorney’s professional backgrounds. According to the Commission, this is a willful and persistent violation of Canon 2B of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. The respondent was also ordered to complete additional education for the said Judicial Misconduct.
Despite the earlier sanctions imposed on the respondent, the Special Court of Review concluded that the Commission has failed to meet the burden of proving otherwise.
The filing states:
“A straightforward application of the Deming factors, as fully set forth above, reveals no willful or persistent violations of the Code. Even assuming, without so finding, that the Facebook posts constitute some “pattern'” of “misconduct,” Respondent immediately ceased upon receipt of the Commission’s Written inquiry. And although the posts’ pictures occurred in the courtroom and related past events that occurred in the courtroom, in Respondent’s official capacity, Respondent has acknowledged that these acts occurred and has clearly and credibly evidenced her desire to conduct herself within the Code of Judicial Conduct, while disputing that her conduct violates that Code. Respondent’s Facebook posts all occurred within her first year of judicial service, and the Commission introduced no evidence of any prior complaints against her. The Commission has produced no, or legally insufficient evidence, that the Facebook posts have had any effect on the integrity and respect for the Texas judiciary generally, or that Respondent has exploited or allowed others to exploit, her position in this manner to the detriment of the judiciary.”
The filing continues:
“It is noteworthy that this alleged misconduct occurred prior to the global pandemic which drove much of the Texas bench and bar onto the internet in unprecedented ways. Hearings, bench trials, and even jury trials have been conducted via Zoom, and simultaneously broadcast on YouTube. Many Texas judges have broadcast official proceedings on Facebook as they occurred. While not an example available to the Commission at the time of the initiation of these proceedings, the past three years have perhaps demonstrated that the Commission takes an antiquated view of online publicity of official judicial proceedings”
After considering all the evidence presented in the trial and finding that the respondent’s testimony was credible involving her intent on the said posting, the Special Review Court favors in a finding that the respondent didn’t violate any Canons.
The Disposition states:
“We conclude the Commission has failed to meet its burden of proving the Respondent willfully violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct or Article V, Section 1–a(6)(A) of the Texas constitution. We dismiss the Commission’s Public Warning and Order of Additional Education and Private Warning and Order of Additional Education, and find Respondent not guilty of all charges.”
She sits as a Judge in County Court at Law No. 13 in San Antonio Bexar County, Texas which is located at 300 Dolorosa St 4th Floor, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA, and can be reached at +1 210-335-2549. Her info can be found on trellis.law.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.