Smith County Judge Joel Baker To Resign Amidst Sexting Scandal
Smith County Judge Joel Baker will resign from office.
In March of this year, Baker came under fire following the revelation that he sent hundreds of sexually explicit text messages to a woman while on official government business. He was then suspended following the public outcry.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct began an investigation and today it has been announced that Judge Baker will voluntarily resign in exchange for the commission dropping that investigation.
The agreement notes the following:
"it was ...alleged that Baker failed to cooperate with the Commission, failed to timely produce requested evidence, deleted information from his social media account and cell phone before donating the phone to charity...and attempted to influence testimony of a witness."
Baker's resignation will go into effect on November 4th or on the day his pending criminal misdemeanor charges are resolved. Baker will also be forbidden from judicial service in the state of Texas. However, the agreement states that his resignation is not an admission of guilt or liability.
Judge Baker also remains under scrutiny with regards to charges of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act in relation to the installation of traffic cameras by American Traffic Solutions without public comment.
In August, Baker withdrew his request for a hearing to appeal his suspension. Yet, until today, Baker had vowed to fight all charges against him.
Until the sexting scandal erupted, Baker himself had served on the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.