Texas intermediate appellate court justices rarely find themselves in trouble with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. But 1st Court of Appeals Justice James “Jim” Patrick Sharp Jr. (pictured) certainly got the commission’s attention when he attempted to throw his weight around to try to get a friend’s daughter released from the Brazoria County Juvenile Detention Center earlier this year. His behavior resulted in a public reprimand that the commission released today.
According to the reprimand, Sharp identified himself as a justice on the 1st Court when he called two officers at the detention center and the assistant director of the county’s juvenile probation department, asking what he could do to secure the girl’s release from the facility.
When he was told the girl would be detained overnight, Sharp told the assistant director, “[Y]our county is going to be sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars for this. You’ll have picked the wrong little girl that has friends in high places to mess with,” according to the reprimand.
He also stated to the assistant director “Well, I can tell you this, things are about to change in Brazoria County. You guys are a bunch of back woods hillbillies that use screwed up methods in dealing with children and I can promise you this, things are about to change in Brazoria County,” according to the reprimand.
The commission concluded in the reprimand that “Justice Sharp lent the prestige of his judicial office to advance the private interests of his friend and her daughter in willful and persistent violation of Canon 2B of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.”
Sharp did not immediately return a call for comment. Seana Willing, executive director of the commission, declines comment on the reprimand.
--- John Council