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It stems from complaints and media stories alleging that Coker "had engaged in improper ex parte text communications with Polk County Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones while Judge Coker presided" over a criminal trial in August of 2012.
With those complaints, "the commission commenced an investigation into allegations that Judge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information" about the case "to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial" among other issues.
The agreement also said the commission looked into other complaints that Coker allegedy engaged in other improper communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County prosecutor's office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney and certain defense attorneys.
The agreement goes on to say "the parties agree that the allegations of judicial misconduct, if found to be true, could result in disciplinary action against Judge Coker." As a result, the parties sought to resolve the matter "without the time and expense of further disciplinary proceedings."
Coker did not admit any guilt or fault.
Her resignation will take effect Dec. 6 but she will take a voluntary leave of absence until that time and not perform any official duties. Under the agreement, she will be disqualified from sitting or serving as a judge in Texas,
Coker, 46, has been on the 258th bench for 14 years and is the third generation in her family to serve on an East Texas bench. Her father and grandfather also served.
LIVINGSTON – 258th District Court Judge Elizabeth Coker of Livingston has announced she is joining the Republican Party. Coker, a former resident of Trinity, is currently serving Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties on the district court bench. She was first elected to the office in 1998 as a Democratic Party candidate and has won re-election three times under that party's banner. On Tuesday, April 2, Coker announced at the Polk County Republican Club meeting she is joining the Republican Party. "I walked in here tonight with the same values, principles and faith that I shall leave with" Coker stated. Citing her heritage and strong conservative values instilled in her by her family, she explained that the Republican Party best represented those same core values. "Our conservative way of life here in East Texas is most reflected by the Republican Party: the importance of family, service to our country and praying for strength and guidance," she added. A third generation district judge, Coker's grandfather, Ernest Coker, and father, Lynn Coker, all served Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties as district judges. "I am grateful for the support I have received over the past 14 years – from both Democrats and Republicans alike," Coker said, "and I will continue to serve all the wonderful people in these three great counties." Coker has almost two years left in her fourth four-year term of office and will face re-election in the 2014 election cycle. In recent years, a number of other local officials also have switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party, including Trinity County Judge Doug Page, Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover "Tiger" Worsham and Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Bernie Beard. During the 2012 general election, Republican candidates won seven of the eight contested county offices and Republican Kaycee Jones of Livingston unseated longtime Democrat Robert Trapp of Coldspring in the race for the post of judge in the 411th Judicial District. Like the 258th, the 411th Judicial District serves Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties.