On Wednesday, June 26, 2024, the Houston Public Media reported that Judge Kelli Johnson of Harris County was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

According to the report, Judge Johnson, a 52-year-old Democrat who has served as a judge in the 178th Criminal Court since 2016, was previously pulled over by police in mid-April on suspicion of drunk driving, She was released with a warning for speeding.

Johnson was elected to a third term earlier this year, running unopposed. However, she had been on a personal leave of absence from the bench for undisclosed reasons earlier in 2024. On Tuesday morning, June 25th, Judge Johnson was arrested at around 2:45 am and charged with DWI. She was later released from jail on bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 2nd to face the charges.

As part of her bond conditions, Judge Johnson is prohibited from consuming alcohol or non-prescription drugs and cannot operate a motor vehicle without an alcohol monitoring device. Her attorney, Christopher Tritico, released a statement asserting that Johnson “was not behind the wheel intoxicated” at the time of her arrest. He said she submitted to a breathalyzer test which showed a 0.0 alcohol level and claimed the incident was due to a “brief medical episode.”

If convicted, Judge Johnson could receive penalties ranging from fines to jail time according to Texas DWI laws. She could also potentially face suspension or removal from office by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which cites drunk driving as an act that constitutes judicial misconduct. The Commission’s director declined to comment on whether they are investigating Johnson, citing confidentiality rules.



Source: Houston Public Media