Texas judge changes locks to her office, warns colleagues about trespassing

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A Texas judge who campaigned on a reform platform has changed the locks to her office and issued a criminal trespass warning to judicial colleagues and their staff members.

Judge Millie Thompson of Hays County, Texas, issued a cease-and-desist order in late January warning judges and their staffers that that “your entry into my office is forbidden,” report the Austin American-Statesman and the Hays Free Press News-Dispatch. The order served as a criminal trespass warning.

Thompson, a Democrat, is a former civil rights lawyer who beat the Republican incumbent judge in the November election. She handles probate, guardianship, personal injury and misdemeanor cases.

The Austin American-Statesman quoted from the cease-and-desist order.

“You have created a hostile work environment by entering my chambers without my consent,” Thompson wrote to two fellow judges, Robert Updegrove and Chris Johnson. “You have created a hostile work environment by lying to the coordinators you assigned me by telling them I have no authority to fire my own coordinators. … I had to order a man I just fired out of my office more than four times, and he still refused to leave. … Cease and desist your retaliation against me for winning the bench.”

One lawyer who had supported the incumbent, Chevo Pastrano, complained in an email to several Hays County officials. Pastrano alleged that the new environment is “incredibly chaotic,” less efficient and more difficult for staff members.

Thompson has also recused herself from several cases involving local lawyers. One of the lawyers, Tony Fusco, ran against Thompson in the Democratic primary. Another lawyer, David Sergi, works with Fusco.

Sergi told the Austin American-Statesman that it is unusual for a judge to recuse from cases of lawyers who supported a different candidate.

“I think if that were the case, every small town of Texas would have to have visiting judges,” Sergi said.

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