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Federal judge who banned prosecutor from courtroom won’t face disciplinary action after dismissing cases

Judiciary

Federal judge who banned prosecutor from courtroom won’t face disciplinary action after dismissing cases

A federal judge who banned a female prosecutor from his courtroom and allegedly made “disparaging remarks” about female lawyers will not be punished for his actions. (Photo via Shutterstock)

A federal judge who banned a female prosecutor from his courtroom and allegedly made “disparaging remarks” about female lawyers will not face disciplinary action for his actions.

No action will be taken on an ethics complaint filed against U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas because he has assumed senior inactive status and withdrawn from his cases, according to a June 12 order by the judicial council of the 5th District Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The order does not mention Hughes by name, but the document refers to incidents involving the judge. 5th District Chief Judge Priscilla Richman signed the order, which was posted on the court’s website last week.

The order was reported by Reuters and Bloomberg Law.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas in Houston. (Photo provided by U.S. government, PD US Courts, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Fifth Circuit criticized Hughes’s comments in a footnote to the July 2018 opinion.

Hughes made the comments after a fraud investigation into the owner of an adoption agency was dropped due to alleged prosecution errors that included withholding case files pending trial.

“It was a lot easier when you wore dark suits, white shirts and navy ties,” Hughes said. “We didn’t let girls do that back then.”

Hughes previously told the Houston Chronicle that the remark was aimed at poorly dressed FBI agents, not lawyers.

The footnote said the comments, made in the presence of a female prosecutor, were “degrading, inappropriate and beneath the dignity of a federal judge.”

Hughes later permanently banned the prosecutor from the courtroom, a decision that was overturned in July 2022 by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Richman said she agreed with the 5th Circuit Court rulings that found the judge’s conduct was improper but that there was no need to take action given his high-profile inactive status.

See also:

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