Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols said Tuesday he is currently drafting an amended petition to remove Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown from her elected position.
The new petition will point out more conduct that Nichols believes merits being brought before a jury, he said.
Brown’s actions made national headlines when the Telegram reported Brown set a $4 billion bond for a man accused of murder in a Killeen case and later admitted to reporters that she knew it was unconstitutional when she set it.
Brown later set extremely low bonds for criminal defendants charged with serious violent offenses. The Bell County District Attorney’s office was forced to file motions to increase bail and add bail conditions.
In February, Killeen lawyer Brett Pritchard filed the original petition to remove Brown and a hearing was held in March. A visiting judge decided on March 9 there was substantial reason to send Brown to trial.
Nichols tried to find solutions other than a jury trial, which is why Brown’s case hasn’t been before a jury already.
Brown’s arraignment of her own son on criminal charges after he was arrested for reportedly driving while intoxicated changed how Nichols viewed the situation, Nichols said.
“At that point, we started looking at additional matters to bring a removal suit,” he said.
Lawyer Jeff Parker filed a complaint in February with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Brown, and filed an amendment to that complaint in June. However, Parker hasn’t received anything back from the commission except an acknowledgement the first complaint was received, he said Tuesday.
Pritchard faxed a letter on Oct. 16 to Nichols that urged him to quickly move forward with Brown’s removal.
Brown also has some health issues.
“We’re already working on discovery,” Nichols said. “We’ve also sent out notices to her attorneys that we will subpoena some of Brown’s medical records to figure out if there are health issues we need to be made aware of.”
Nichols said he has given Brown’s attorneys more than enough time to keep him informed as to the status of her health.
“No one has returned my calls. I’ve been more than patient, but it hasn’t happened,” Nichols said.
One of Brown’s attorneys, Buck Wood, said Tuesday that although Nichols sent him a request for Brown’s medical records, Nichols isn’t entitled to them because of the way the request was worded.
“I’m filing a motion to squash it,” Wood said.
“He (Nichols) would probably get them in discovery if he said Brown was incapacitated.”
However, Wood said Brown hasn’t missed a day of work except for time off for a surgical procedure, and she has been on the bench every day. Wood talks to Brown almost every day, and she seems optimistic about her health, he said.
The new removal petition will be filed in the near future, Nichols said.