Judge is Focus of Ethical Complaint

10-25-05 - A district clerk in the Grayson County Justice Center has filed a complaint against 336th District Court Judge Lauri Blake. Cyndi Mathis-Spencer claims Blake ordered her court coordinator to retrieve a court file – that employee then had maintenance workers go in through the ceiling to get into the clerk’s locked office.

Mathis-Spencer sent a letter to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct on Friday, just a few hours after she discovered the file had been removed. The entry into the office left dust and tile fibers littered on the floor.

The file is connected to a civil lawsuit filed in Judge Blake's court between a local doctor and an attorney. The attorney wanted Blake recused from the case - claiming she and the opposing attorney had improper Ex Parte - or off the record - communications.

A hearing on that motion took place on Monday. A visiting judge removed Judge Blake from the case.

In the complaint by Mathis-Spencer, she says the door to her office was locked. In light of the accusations in the motion to recuse, she specifically kept the file for this case in her private office. In court Monday afternoon, Mathis-Spencer testified that because the file had been taken out of her custody, she could not certify that the file was complete.

All of the court personnel, including the judges and attorneys, have access to the files and records. But it’s not clear why the office was broken into to retrieve the physical file when the entire document is available on-line.

Judge Blake has already retained legal counsel. Her attorney has not seen a copy of the complaint but says the judge denies the accusations in it.

The head of maintenance for Grayson County refused comment, saying he's been told not to comment by the visiting judge.

It will be up to the state commission to determine if any ethical violations occurred.