Edinburg JP reprimanded for code of judicial conduct violations

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Homer Jasso Sr., Precinct 4, Place 2 justice of the peace last week, according to a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.

The commission ordered that he complete additional education by repeating the 80-hour training given by the Texas Justice Court Training Center to new judges.

The commission found that Jasso violated the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct by hiring a woman “with whom he had an intimate relationship; and … making inappropriate comments about (her) during office hours,” according to the commission’s order.

It also found he violated the code of conduct when he amended a final judgment in 2016 without notifying either party. He also failed to provide one of the parties with a copy of the original judgment in a timely manner, and testified before the commission that the delay “was due to the fact he had a ‘complete turnover of all five members of (his) staff,’” the order noted.

He subsequently testified that he “terminated the five employees for ‘political reasons,’ after they had expressed support for his opponent in the upcoming election.”

Jasso additionally erred in the same case by setting the plaintiff’s appeal bond at $6,000, when the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure sets such a bond at $500. He testified before the commission that “he believed he had discretion to set this bond” despite what the commission called the “plain language” of the rules.

Jasso declined to comment Tuesday and his staff said he planned to release a written statement Wednesday.

His oral testimony regarding his conduct violations contradicted sworn statements he gave the commission, according to the order, which further noted that his “lack of candor and cooperation with the commission” violated both the Texas Constitution and the Texas Government Code.

Hidalgo County Commissioners appointed Jasso in 2011 to fill a vacancy left after a justice of the peace was removed from office. Jasso had previously served as justice of the peace from 1980 to 1988.

He was elected to office in 2014 and is running for re-election in the May 22 run-off. Jasso faces Edinburg attorney Armando Guerra, who received 31 percent of the March Democratic primary vote to Jasso’s 41 percent.