On October 7, 2022, the State of Texas Special Court of Review ruled in favor of Hon. Jonathan Bailey. former judge of the 431st Judicial District Court in Denton County, in a Public Warning complaint issued by the Texas State Commission on Conduct for alleged legal errors of the former in handling a Divorce case. 

The case is styled as ‘In re Inquiry concerning the Honorable Jonathan Bailey’ with case number #19-1770.

The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing.

Before the Review Tribunal is an appeal from a Public Warning issued by the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Respondent, the Honorable Jonathan Bailey. The Commission’s Public Warning concluded that Judge Bailey: (1) failed to comply with the law and maintain competence in it; (2) failed to be patient, dignified, and courteous to a litigant; and (3) exhibited bias and prejudice against a litigant. Respondent appealed, and this Review Tribunal conducted a trial de novo to review the Commission’s sanctions. 

According to the facts, while handling a Divorce case, the respondent has committed legal errors. 

The filing states: 

‘In five charges, the Commission alleges that Respondent

1. Prepared, signed, and issued an “Order to Search” (a search warrant) in a criminal case without complying with Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. art. 18.01b), in violation of Canon 2A of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct;

2. Failed to maintain professional competence in the law, as demonstrated when he improperly issued a search warrant based on testimony presented at a divorce hearing and without complying with Texas Code Crim. Proc. art. 18.01(b), in violation of Canon 3B(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct;

3. Failed to be patient, dignified, and courteous to Michael, a litigant before Respondent in both a civil and criminal matter, when he issued, sua sponte, the Order based on testimony in a divorce hearing; failed to comply with Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. art. 18.01(b); and held Simone in his courtroom until the Order was executed, in violation of Canon 3B(4) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct;

4. Failed to perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice as to Simone, a litigant before Respondent in both a civil and criminal matter, when he issued, sua sponte, the Order based on testimony in a divorce hearing; failed to comply with Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 18.01(b); and held Simone in his courtroom until the Order was executed, in violation of Canon 3B(5) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct;

5. Demonstrated, through the above conduct, (1) incompetence in performing the duties of his office; (2) willful violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and/or (3) willful or persistent conduct clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of his duties, or that casts public discredit on the judiciary or administration of justice in violation of Article V, § 1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution.’

As set forth herein, the court finds that Respondent committed a legal error as alleged, but that this legal error did not rise to the e level of sanctionable judicial misconduct. The court concludes that the Respondent did not violate the Code of Judicial Conduct or the Texas Constitution.

The Disposition states: 

“Having failed to find that Respondent violated the Code of Judicial Conduct or the Texas Constitution as alleged, we vacate the Commission’s public warning and dismiss the charges against Respondent without sanctions.”

Hon. Jonathan Bailey is a former judge of the 431st Judicial District Court in Denton County. His Bio can be found on Trellis.Law. 

The respondent earned a law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.