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The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has publicly reprimanded the city of Progreso’s municipal judge.

In a Dec. 20 public reprimand, which the state agency released on Friday, officials said its actions follow a complaint filed on Jan. 14, 2021 against Progreso Municipal Court Judge Orlando Jimenez.

That complaint regarded a hold on a woman’s driver’s license that was based on a 2009 traffic citation.

On June 27, 2023, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct mailed Jimenez at the municipal court a letter of inquiry and gave him until July 12, 2023 to respond.

“When the June 27th Letter of Inquiry was received by the Court, Raul Garcia, the Progreso City Clerk, stated he gave the letter to Judge Jimenez and Judge Jimenez opened the letter, looked it over and told him to forward it to the Progreso City Attorney,” the reprimand stated.

On July 11, 2023, Jimenez asked Garcia to email the commission to ask for an extension to respond due to a death in the family, which the commission granted.

“However, Judge Jimenez failed to respond,” the reprimand stated.

By early October, the commission sent a tentative sanction to Jimenez and the judge still did not respond.

“On October 31, 2023, the commission called Judge Jimenez at the Progreso Municipal Court but was informed that Judge Jimenez was at his law firm office in Edinburg,” the reprimand stated. “After being provided with the law firm’s phone number, the Commission called Judge Jimenez at his law firm’s phone number and left him a message.

“Judge Jimenez returned the call and after explaining to him the present situation involving this complaint, Judge Jimenez decided to have an informal appearance in front of the Commission.”

That happened on Dec. 6 and Jimenez testified he was unaware of the letter and only became aware after that Oct. 31 phone conversation.

Jimenez also testified that Garcia sent the email asking for an extension and that he did not ask him to send it.

“Further, Judge Jimenez testified Mr. Garcia did tell him a complaint against the city had been received and that he told Mr. Garcia to send it to the city attorney,” the reprimand stated. “The Commission found Judge Jimenez’s testimony at his informal appearance to be disingenuous.”

The commission found that Jimenez failure to respond and cooperate with its investigation warranted the public reprimand.

“Judge Jimenez’s failure in this respect constituted willful or persistent conduct that is clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of his duties and cast public discredit upon the judiciary or administration of justice, in violation of … the Texas Constitution.”