Austin Civil District Judge Arrested Last Weekend
District Judge Gisela Triana of Austin was arrested for DWI on the night of March 20th after police stopped her for speeding in her 2013 Chevrolet Suburban. She was clocked going 47 mph in a 30 mph zone. Arresting officers report that she smelled strongly of alcohol, had glassy eyes and swayed when she walked. An empty Mike’s hard lemonade bottle was lying in the center console. Judge Triana admitted to four drinks. She refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test but did perform four field sobriety tests at the scene. She has been a judge in Austin for the past 19 years and began her career as a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office.
The judge said in a statement emailed to Texas Lawyer by her attorney:
I am very disappointed in myself … Whether it is determined that I was legally intoxicated or not, the investigation itself indicates that I have not met my own standards of careful conduct.
Appellate Justice in Edinburg (South Texas) Arrested But Gets Slap On Wrist
Even though she was driving while intoxicated, 13th Court of Appeals Justice Nora Longoria was just admonished by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for her conduct during a DWI arrest last July. This is the lowest possible punishment she could have received. Her DWI arrest was thrown out by another judge.
The March 13th public admonishment stated that the judge violated the Texas Constitution and the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct when she attempted to use her judiciary position to avoid arrest.
Last summer, Judge Longoria was stopped for speeding in McAllen and subsequently charged with DWI after failing a field sobriety test, slurring her speech and admitting to drinking five beers. At the time of her arrest, she cried, repeatedly identified herself as a judge and begged the officer to let her go home, which was caught on the officer’s video dash-cam.
The judge’s charges were dropped in November, but her “conduct during the traffic stop, her arrest for driving while intoxicated and her subsequent plea of no contest to a speeding charge received widespread media attention which cast public discredit upon the judiciary and the administration of justice,” according to the admonishment.
We Demand More From Our Judges
Judges make important decisions that can have life-altering effects on the people who come in front of them, including sentencing a criminal defendant after his DWI conviction or determining damages in an auto accident injury claim that might have been caused by a drunk driver. To truly uphold the law and remain unbiased, judges have a strict duty to abide by the law. They should be held to a higher standard.