On Monday, April 15, 2024, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Judge Ursula Hall of the 165th Judicial District Court in Houston, Harris County.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge Ursula Hall,” with case numbers 22-0101, 22-1257 & 23-0821.

According to the document which the state agency released this week, the Commission issued the public reprimand after reviewing complaints against Judge Hall alleging she failed to perform her judicial duties in a timely manner. Specifically, she was accused of not promptly setting hearing dates, ruling on cases, or signing orders for cases in her court. This type of conduct resulted in the Commission issuing Judge Hall a prior public warning and order for additional education in 2020.

In the recent proceeding, Chief Justice Tracy Christopher from the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston filed one of the complaints. She informed the Commission that Judge Hall has repeatedly shown a pattern of failing to timely rule on cases. This has forced litigants and appellate courts to spend unnecessary resources dealing with mandamus petitions filed to remedy Judge Hall’s failure to rule. In fact, Justice Christopher referenced a previous Fourteenth Court of Appeals case, In re Robert Walsh, where the court had to order Judge Hall through a mandamus to rule on a pending motion.

Additionally, during the appearance, Judge Hall acknowledged the appellate courts had granted over 30 mandamus petitions against her for failure to rule. However, she attempted to shift blame to other factors like the district clerk’s office, attorneys filing petitions, and the appellate courts themselves. Nevertheless, the Commission found Judge Hall violated provisions of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct requiring her to comply with the law, act with integrity and impartiality, hear assigned cases, and maintain professional competence. Her conduct was also deemed a willful failure to timely perform her job duties under the Texas Government Code.

In issuing the public reprimand, the Commission exercised its constitutional duty to protect the public and promote confidence in the justice system. It remains to be seen if further sanctions may be necessary if Judge Hall is unable to resolve the issues preventing her from more promptly fulfilling her role on the bench.

Judge Hall‘s courtroom is located at 165th Civil District Court, Houston, Harris County, Texas, and can be reached at (281)889-4743.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.