Texas Judge Suzanne Wooten Found Guilty of Bribery, Money Laundering – Plea Deal, No Jail Time
Texas Judge Suzanne Wooten has been found guilty of bribery (6 counts) as well as money laundering, record tampering, and engaging in organized criminal activity. That was after a full-blown jury trial.
Suzanne Wooten has also been sentenced to ten (10) years probation, a $10,000 fine, and must perform over 1000 hours of community service. That was the sentence after a deal was reached between the prosecutors and the defense – and approved by visiting judge Kerry Russell.
Seems that negotiations were hot and heavy over the Thanksgiving holiday and when the jury returned to the courtroom, expecting another 3-4 days or more of jury duty for the sentencing phase, the deal was announced. No need for the jury to worry about Judge Wooten anymore.
Was justice done?
It’s a subject of debate. Judge Wooten had political enemies that some argued had it out for the judge (see our earlier post here). The ABA Journal reports that in the family law cases upon which the bribery charges were based (i.e., where the judge allegedly took money in exchange for a favorable ruling), Judge Wooten not only testified that she was not aware of any improper campaign donations but that she recused herself from the case after hearing about the connection between a donor and a pending family matter. Other points: Wooten took a pay cut to take the bench.
Here’s an interesting take on things. Read the comments section of the Collin County Observer in its local coverage of the verdict: there are still those that think that justice was not served here and that former judge Suzanne Wooten got played.
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