Austin – The state regulatory commission that rides herd on judges found that Judge W.H. “Pete” Person’s actions in setting bail bond of $1 million on more than 170 alleged offenders following the May 17 massacre at Twin Peaks Restaurant “not necessarily appropriate.”
According to its counsel, Erik Nielsen, the commissioners examined witness statements and pronouncements the McLennan County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace made to national media regarding his motive to “send a message” to people who think it’s okay to wear the kind of adornment they feel is appropriate and meet with persons of their choosing to discuss political matters by setting their bail at $1 million and charging them with the identical offense of “engaging in organized criminal activity.”
Nielsen termed the remarks Peterson made to the media “improper” and added the Commissioners “made the judge aware of the concerns.”
According to a complainant, Dallas attorney F. Clinton Broden, “While the State Judicial Conduct Commission chose to use its “discretion” not to sanction Judge Walter Peterson, I think it is important to note that the Commission also concluded that his actions in relation to the Twin Peaks incident were “not necessarily appropriate” and that the Commission shared its concerns with Judge Peterson regarding his actions.
“It should also be noted that Judge Peterson was required to appear personally in front of the Commission on February 11, 2016 in response to the complaint. Although this meeting was closed to the public, it is unusual for the Commission to require that a judge personally appear before it.”
As yet, Peterson is not necessarily out of the woodshed. Nielsen invited Broden to share any additional evidence of misconduct on the part of Judge Peterson – on a one-time basis, within 30 – days for further review.