An ethics complaint has been filed against a Dallas, Texas judge who hugged former cop Amber Guyger and gave her a Bible following her guilty verdict on Wednesday.
Guyger, who is white, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean, an unarmed Black man who was relaxing in his own apartment when Guyger barged in.
Judge Tammy Kemp fueled outrage when she embraced Guyger in court and handed her a Bible after Guyger was sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
The judge’s actions prompted many to question why Black defendants aren’t treated the same way.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed an ethics complaint against the judge with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct on Thursday.
The FFRF group said Kemp went too far by embracing the former cop in court and praying with her before Guyger was shipped off to prison.
The FFRF called Judge Kemp’s behavior inappropriate and unconstitutional.
After a victim impact statement by Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, he told Guyger he loved her and embraced her.
Then Kemp embraced Guyger and spoke with her before leaving the courtroom and returning with her personal Bible.
She turned the pages to John 3:16 and told Guyger, “This is where you start.” She continued, saying, “He has a purpose for you,” referring to God.
In the complaint, the FFRF said Judge Kemp, “Handled a difficult trial with grace” but that she “signaled to everyone watching… that she is partial to Christian reform and Christian notions of forgiveness.”
Legal experts have noted that the hug and the Bible could cause a conflict if Guyger files an appeal, which her attorneys have stated she will.
Other legal experts weighed in, saying Kemp’s actions bordered on judicial misconduct.
“I did not see why the judge did what she did,” said C. Victor Lander, a former municipal judge who spent 27 years behind the bench.
“Once there’s an appearance that the judges are not impartial, we lose our entire criminal justice system,” Lander said.