On December 12, 2023, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Orlando Jimenez, the municipal judge for Progreso, Texas. The Commission took action in response to a complaint filed against Judge Jimenez in January 2021 regarding a hold on a woman’s driver’s license that stemmed from a 2009 traffic citation.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge Orlando Jimenez,” with case number 21-0637.
According to the document which the state agency released on January 12, 2024, the Commission first mailed Judge Jimenez a letter of inquiry about the complaint on June 27, 2023, giving him until July 12th to respond. However, Judge Jimenez failed to respond to the letter. When the letter arrived at the Progreso municipal court, the city clerk Raul Garcia stated he gave the letter to Judge Jimenez. Judge Jimenez then instructed Garcia to forward the letter to the city attorney.
On July 11th, Judge Jimenez had Garcia email the Commission requesting an extension to respond, citing a death in the family. The extension was granted but Judge Jimenez again failed to submit a response. In October, the Commission sent Judge Jimenez a tentative sanction, but he still did not respond. It was not until an October 31st phone call from the Commission that Judge Jimenez engaged, deciding to have an informal appearance in front of the panel on December 6th.
At the informal hearing, Judge Jimenez claimed ignorance about the initial letter until the October 31st phone call. However, the Commission found his testimony to be misleading, as the city clerk had stated Judge Jimenez was notified about the complaint in June.
The Commission ultimately determined Judge Jimenez’s failure to cooperate or respond to the investigation violated standards of conduct and warranted the public reprimand.
The Commission states:
“Judge Jimenez’s failure in this respect constituted willful or persistent conduct that is clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of his duties and cast public discredit upon the judiciary or administration of justice, in violation of … the Texas Constitution.”
A copy of the original filing can be found here.