In Comal County, a state district judge interrupted jury deliberations to urge them to vote not guilty on orders he said came from God.
Judge Jack Robison was presiding over a trial concerning a Buda, Texas woman who was accused of trafficking a teenage girl for sex. The defendant, Gloria Romero-Perez, was charged with continuous sex trafficking and a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child, according to the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels.
As the jury deliberated over the case, Judge Robison interrupted, urging them to find the defendant not guilty. He apologized for his interruption but defended his actions by saying "when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it," the Herald-Zeitung reported.
Afterwards, Robison recused himself from the case for the remainder of its proceedings. Judge Gary Steele replaced him and denied the defendant's attorney's request for a mistrial.
The jury didn't follow Robison's request and instead found Romero-Perez guilty for continuous sex trafficking of her teenage niece. They acquitted her of a separate charge for sale or purchase of a child. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
It is unclear what will happen next for the judge, who is scheduled to return to the bench on January 31. However, his actions could trigger a review from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The commission has disciplined Robison in the past, according to the Austin-American Statesman. In 2011 he was reportedly reprimanded for improperly jailing a Caldwell County man who allegedly called him a fool after a child custody ruling involving the man's granddaughter. The reprimand said Robison "exceeded the scope of his authority and failed to comply with the law," by jailing the man for contempt of court without a hearing or advance notice.
It is not clear whether interrupting jury deliberations in the manner reported would violate the state's judicial canon. Officials have not confirmed or denied info about any complaints against Robison for the incident.