A Texas judge said God called on him to interrupt jury deliberations in a sex trafficking case in order to attempt to sway jurors.
Judge Jack Robison tried to convince jurors that the defendant, 32-year-old Gloria E. Romero-Perez, was not guilty of the charges she faced in Comal County, Texas, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The judge later apologized for the interruption but stood by his actions because “when God tells me I got to do something, I got to do it,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
But the jury found Romero-Perez guilty of trafficking her teenage niece despite the judge’s actions. Robison later recused himself from the sentencing phase of the case.
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Romero-Perez, who was acquitted of a second charge related to trafficking, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reported.
This isn’t the first time Robison’s conduct has been questioned. He was reprimanded for exceeding “the scope of his authority” by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct following a restroom confrontation in 2009. After a man called him a fool, Robison ordered the man be jailed for a month, according to the American-Statesman. The man was released two days later, after an investigation of the incident.
The incident last week could prompt another investigation by the Commission.
The American-Statesman reported Robison did not return a request for comment.
Reaction to Robison’s conduct was filled with outrage as many online saw it as a disregard for the separation of church and state.