Legal Ethics

Ethics Classes Ordered for Lawyers Seen Reading Text Message on Judge's Phone

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Updated: A judge in Corpus Christi ordered two attorneys who were appearing before her to take ethics classes after they were reportedly seen looking through her cell phone.

State District Judge Angelica E. Hernandez recused herself from the capital murder trial she was hearing last week after her court coordinator found a prosecutor and defense lawyer reading a text message on the judge’s phone, NBC’s KRIS TV reports.

The lawyers, Assistant District Attorney Doug Mann and defense lawyer Eric Perkins, have said the matter has been blown out of proportion. The men told KIII TV that the incident involves one text message that Mann accidentally read on the judge’s phone when he picked it up from a desk after mistaking it for his own. “Almost all of us have phones that look identical,” Perkins is quoted saying.

Hernandez, who didn’t accept the lawyers’ claims that they looked at the phone by mistake, ordered Perkins and Mann to complete five and 10 hours of ethics courses. Only after the courses would they be allowed to appear in her courtroom.

The Nueces County District Attorney’s office appealed the ban, and on Tuesday she vacated her order, according to KRIS-TV.

Also see:

KRIS TV: “Prosecutor Caught In Cell Phone Scandal Speaks Out”

Updated on Aug. 17 to note that the judge vacated her order.

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