KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Claudia Brown, who served as Justice of the Peace in Bell County until her removal from the bench in February, is sharing her side of the story.
It’s a story, she says, started with a smear campaign to get her out of office. She called the entire process “unjust.”
“That was a hostile work environment. I would have stayed had they not continued badgering me and wanting me not to be there,” Brown said.
Brown, who represented Pct. 4, Pl. 1, also spoke about that $4 billion bond she set for a murder suspect in 2017.
“So, you didn’t mean for that $4 billion bond to come forward?” News 10’s Brandon Hamilton asked.
“Of course, not. I said ‘that’s going in the trash,’” Brown replied.
Instead, the bond amount made national headlines. She contends her goal has been to highlight the need to lower bond amounts.
”They have to mortgage their momma’s house to get their loved one out of jail. It’s a terrible, vicious cycle, it really is,” she said.
Brown also came under fire for allegations of misconduct, including setting her own son’s bond despite a conflict of interest, and during trial, her mental health was brought into question.
Hoping to reverse the court’s decision that found her unfit to hold office, Brown filed an appeal in Texas’ Third Court of Appeals on March 12.
”Would you do that if you thought you were not guilty of what they were charging you of? Would you not appeal? That’s exactly why I appealed. I’m not incompetent; I’m one of the most competent people they’ve had in the position,” Brown said.
In the documents provided to KWTX, she also stated, “I pray this Texas 3rd Court of Appeals will find that the order to remove me from office due to incompetence has not been proven and official misconduct is to be considered double jeopardy because I was already cited by the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission for the same allegations. I pray the court will allow me to resign from office because of the unbearable work environment created by a handful of law enforcement workers and lawyers who colluded to have me removed from office.”
As far as what’s next for Brown, she maintains she will fight.
”Rosa Parks, would she have gotten out of that bus seat or would she have just sat there? She said she was just too tired of all the Jim Crow laws. She was not getting out that seat. So, Judge Brown may have lost her seat as a judge, but my message is very, very clear: it’s not fair what we’re doing to people,” she said.
Brown says although she has filed for an appeal, she does not want to serve in her seat again. Rather, she hopes to have the chance to resign.
She’s also asked the Court of Appeals for $100,000 to pay for “costs and damages incurred in fighting these procedures.”
Earlier this week, Bell County Commissioners appointed another Democrat, Daryl Peters, to replace Brown. He is expected to be sworn-in on Monday.