Suspended Texas Appeals Court Judge Resigns

      DALLAS (CN) — A Dallas appeals court judge resigned Tuesday to avoid being removed from the bench after being suspended for alcohol abuse and facing accusations of erratic behavior by colleagues.
     The State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Austin was going to ask the Texas Supreme Court to remove Fifth Court of Appeals Justice David Lewis, the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.
     Lewis’s attorney, Perry Minton with Minton Burton in Austin, told the Morning News his client is “doing fantastic.
     “Justice Lewis resigned after considering his family and his health and what’s best for him,” Minton told the newspaper. “Me, personally, I believe he could go back to the bench. But he chose not to do that.”
     Several of Lewis’s colleagues on the 13-member court are said to have told the commission he was becoming difficult to work with and that his work suffered. He failed to read court documents before hearing cases, was “disrespectful and disdainful” to other justices and sometimes used profanity, the Morning News reported.
     Chief Justice Carolyn Wright told the commission that Lewis is “too impaired to read, comprehend, or articulate legal issues, and justice is not being served.”
     In her complaint to the commission, Wright said his behavior has “deteriorated to the point where it is hostile, unsafe, violates the oath of judicial office and the rules of judicial conduct and reflects negatively on the judiciary.”
     Lewis agreed to a minimum 6-month suspension by the commission last November. Minton said at the time that Lewis had successfully completed an alcohol treatment program and was in recovery.
     Lewis’s suspension was listed as “still pending” on the commission’s website Thursday morning.

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