A West Texas district court judge was reprimanded last week by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for making an offensive comment, calling a district attorney a “New York Jew” and telling another prosecutor that his beard made him “look like a Muslim” and “I wouldn’t hire you.”
Texas Lawyer reported that Judge Carter Tinsley Schildknecht also failed to treat lawyers and litigants with courtesy by holding a marathon court session that lasted until 4 am and violated Texas’ open courts doctrine by refusing to allow a prosecutor in her courtroom.
The public admonition of the 106th District Court judge was released on May 18. It stated that Schildknecht referred to District Attorney Michael Munk as a “New York Jew” during a private conversation with Munk’s secretary in July 2014.
Subsequently, Schildknecht spoke directly to Munk and a defense attorney to explain her comment during the jury selection of a criminal case. She said, “When I tell people why you (Munk) are different and have different thoughts, I explain (it is) because you are from New York and because you are Jewish.”
In a written response to the commission, Schildknecht acknowledged making those statements. “I may be too blunt, but I am not biased or prejudiced against New Yorkers or Jews,” she claimed, insisting that to understand these differences would lead to acceptance of those differences.
However, the Texas Tribune reported that Schildknecht ordered the court bailiff to remove Munk later in that same month saying words to the effect of “I don’t want to see his face.”
This action by Schildknecht, according to the reprimand, violated the open courts provision. In her written response, Schildknecht acknowledged that she acted with haste but explained she did not see any reason for Munk to be in her courtroom after “the business of the court had concluded,” Texas Lawyer also reported.
Schildknecht’s questionable ethics bubbled up in the local media later that month when Lubbock Avalance-Journal reported that Munk filed to recuse Schildknecht from a stalking trial he was prosecuting out of concerns of getting a fair and impartial trial for the victims given the judge’s “New York Jew” comments directed at him.
It did not end there.
It was in September 2014 when Schildknecht criticized an assistant district attorney’s beard in her courtroom, saying “You look like a Muslim, and I wouldn’t hire you,” or words to that effect, according to the admonition.
Texas Lawyer also noted that Schildknecht was unable to remember whether or not she made the comment but the situation sounded “faintly familiar” to her. Despite her previous choice of words, she claimed she did not know “there was a specific look of a Muslim.”
Other issues were identified in the reprimand, which alleged that on July 2, 2014, Schildknecht held a marathon 15-hour court session that began at 1 pm and lasted until 4 am. During that time, the judge did not provide any formal breaks in which litigants, lawyers or witnesses could eat meals or use the restroom.
The commission concluded in the admonition “that Judge Schildknecht manifested a religious and/or cultural bias by describing District Attorney Munk as a ‘New York Jew’ and by criticizing a prosecutor’s beard because it made him look like a Muslim.”
Likewise, Schildknecht was reprimanded for her “lack of professional competence by expelling Munk from her courtroom and by failing to treat lawyers and litigants with courtesy by holding a marathon court session without allowing for breaks,” also according to the commission.
As punishment, Schildknecht must attend four hours of instruction with a mentor concerning the open courts doctrine and recognizing and eliminating explicit and implicit bias and/or prejudice.
Breitbart Texas attempted to contact Schildknecht and Munk and was unable to reach either of them but will update this story upon receiving further comment.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.