On Wednesday, July 3, 2024, ABC13 reported that Harris County District Court Judge Kelli Johnson made her first court appearance after being arrested for driving while intoxicated on June 25. According to the report, Judge Johnson appeared before a judge to sign her bond conditions related to the DWI charge.

The article detailed that Judge Johnson’s demeanor in court was described as “empathetic” to the charges she was facing. Due to a conflict of interest, the Harris County District Attorney’s office had recused itself from the case and a special prosecutor would be appointed to handle future proceedings. After the hearing, Judge Johnson’s attorney spoke to reporters, stating that the judge believes in the judicial process and will allow it to play out.

Initially, prosecutors had asked the judge to install an ignition interlock device in her vehicle, submit to random urine drug tests, and wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor anklet. However, the presiding judge did not order those restrictive bond conditions. Instead, Judge Johnson must appear at future court hearings, commit no new crimes, and is prohibited from taking non-prescription drugs.

The DWI arrest stemmed from an early morning traffic stop on June 25 in Houston. A police officer said they witnessed Judge Johnson make an improper turn from the center lane onto another street. During the traffic stop, the officer determined the judge was intoxicated based on her driving 15 miles below the speed limit, dilated pupils, and wrong turn. Police reported finding two prescription pill bottles in Judge Johnson’s possession, and she stated she had been taking antidepressant medication.

This arrest came after another encounter with police on April 12, where court records indicated Judge Johnson was stopped while suspected of drunk or reckless driving. ABC13 obtained bodycam footage of the 45-minute stop through an open records request. In that instance, the judge was let off with just a warning and no charges were filed.



Source: ABC13