WASHINGTON – A Texas judge has been temporarily suspended after she was accused of abusing prescription drugs, using hard drugs like ecstasy and cocaine and hiring prostitutes.
According to a court document, a former lover of Judge Hilary Green claims she even used her bailiff to buy illegal substances and once brought home marijuana seized from a defendant.
Green, a justice of the peace for Harris County, hadn’t been charged with a crime at the time of this report, but she was immediately suspended Friday from the Houston court where she’s worked since 2007 overseeing misdemeanors, traffic adjudication and small civil suits.
Green’s ex-lover, Claude Barnes, claimed in testimony before the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct last year that he and the judge hired prostitutes for threesomes. Barnes described an alleged encounter with an escort in a Crown Plaza hotel room.
“The three of us sat,” Barnes noted of their encounter with the prostitute. “We smoked marijuana. We had a couple drinks and then three of us had sex.”
Barnes said the couple did ecstasy on other occasions, and he claimed to have assisted Green with purchasing black-market prescription cough syrup multiple times.
He said Green had secret codes to reference what drugs she wanted. If she texted him about “nuts and bolts,” she meant Tussionex, a prescription cough medicine. If she asked for “cookie dough,” she meant cocaine. If she wanted “Skittles,” that meant ecstasy.
On one occasion, Barnes alleged, Green came to his house with a bag of marijuana and “told me they took it off a kid in her courtroom. … One of the bailiffs gave this to me.”
Green denied Barnes’ claims.
Following the accusations, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, which had been investigating Green for four years, recommended in a 316-page formal complaint that she be suspended.
The commission’s report was also based on allegations made by Green’s ex-husband, Ronald Green, whom she divorced in 2015. Ronald, a former city council man and ex-controller, claimed his ex-wife is a drug addict who “operates daily with impaired judgment as evidenced by her presiding over cases in which she has ongoing sexual relationships with litigants and witnesses.”
Green’s attorney, Chip Babcock, maintains that the allegations leveraged against his client are exaggerated or false, and he said the ruling by the Texas Supreme Court is “frustrating and surprising.”
“We’re a little surprised that the Supreme Court issued a three-paragraph order when the judge had raised serious and substantial constitutional issues,” Babcock said in a statement. “We’re disappointed in the court’s ruling, and we’re still studying our options.”
He continued: “She’s going to be fighting it. She’s been doing a terrific job as a Justice of the Peace Precinct 7. She was re-elected last November overwhelmingly. The allegations that are in this complaint about her as to sex, drugs, and even the rock and roll are false and not true.”
Many of the charges against Green have long been public, Babcock told the Washington Post, but voters nonetheless resoundingly re-elected Green as a Harris County justice of the peace.
“She’s very popular in the precinct,” he said. “Lots of communication in the community is about how horrible this is.”
Green has, however, admitted to smoking marijuana, taking ecstasy and some of the sexual allegations.
“That sounds like a very good dream/fantasy,” Green admitted writing to her bailiff, according to messages excerpted in court records. “You know I’m all about oral.”
She admitted to the commission that she received marijuana from her ex-boyfriend, Barnes, “four or five” times between 2010 and 2014.
According to court records, Green also admitted to having a dependence on cough syrup. She told the commission she started taking Tussionex in 2009 to help her sleep at night, and she proceeded to do so every night that year.
In February, the commission questioned Green in person.
“I’m just thinking that you’re the judge and here you are abusing drugs,” an interrogator told her. “Judging these people for the crimes that they have committed, and yet you were committing that same crime.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the judge replied.
“You are also involved [in deciding] cases involving Class C misdemeanors, correct?” she was asked.
“Absolutely,” Green answered.
“And some of those cases would involve drugs. Correct?”
“And so I’m just thinking, you’re the judge and here you are abusing drugs. And you are sentencing people, fining them. And judging these people for the crimes that they have committed and yet you were committing that same crime.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Green said.
Judge Green is the 98th judge in state history to face such action. Eric Vinson, the executive director of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct is calling on the Texas Supreme Court to appoint a special master to investigate the case.
Green’s suspension will last until a civil trial can be held to determine whether to remove her from office permanently or dismiss her case.