On Thursday, February 1, 2024, the Texas Special Court of Review vacated the public reprimand issued against Grace Uzomba, judge at County Court at Law no. 2, San Antonio, Bexar County, by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge Grace Uzomba,” with case number 21-0360.

The Special Court of Review consisted of three justices from intermediate appellate courts across the state who were assigned to hear Judge Uzomba’s appeal of the Commission’s decision. The Commission issued a public reprimand in June 2023, finding that Judge Uzomba had failed to timely execute the business of her court regarding community supervision compliance hearings, properly maintain court records, and make recordings of compliance hearings.

In her appeal, Judge Uzomba objected to the Commission expanding the charges against her beyond what was included in the original charging document. Specifically, in a pre-trial memorandum filed just three days before the scheduled hearing, the Commission alleged for the first time that Judge Uzomba had also failed to maintain a professional work environment and violated various canons of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. The Special Court of Review sustained Judge Uzomba’s objections, ruling that due process required any additional charges to have been included in the original charging document.

At the trial, the Commission presented testimony from Judge John Longoria, the former local administrative judge, about complaints he had received regarding delays in Judge Uzomba’s court and her handling of over 1,700 cases without initial settings. However, Judge Uzomba disputed being solely responsible for turnover among her staff. Other witnesses discussed paperwork backlogs and longer than usual proceedings in Judge Uzomba’s court.

Ultimately, the Special Court of Review found that the Commission failed to prove Judge Uzomba engaged in willful or persistent conduct that was clearly inconsistent with her judicial duties or brought discredit to the judiciary, as required to violate the constitution. The court vacated the public reprimand and dismissed all charges without sanctions. In its ruling, the court emphasized that the purpose of such proceedings is to provide guidance rather than punishment.

The Special Court of Review’s decision marks the end of this judicial disciplinary matter and restores Judge Uzomba’s good standing. It provides clarification around the limitations on adding new charges late in the process.

The Judge’s Courtroom is located at Cadena-Reeves Justice Center 300 Dolorosa in San Antonio and can be reached at 210-335-2573.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.