EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - There has been a lot of news coverage on the actions of Smith County Judge Joel Baker.
While Judge Baker has apologized for any embarrassment he may have caused the court or Smith County, he appears determined to stay in the seat presiding over county business.
This, despite multiple investigations by state and federal entities and a call from some residents and some county commissioners to resign. Our investigative team presented this story because it needed to be told. There was an apparent violation of the ethics code that all judges pledge to uphold and that suspected violation is being investigated.
That ethics code applies to all judges and it is ultimately the foundation of our governing system – that those entrusted with these governing responsibilities will perform their duties and conduct themselves at the highest standards. Thankfully, we have a process that is available to anyone accused of wrongdoing. The facts have been presented and that review process is now taking place.
So Judge Baker has the option of letting these investigations run their course with the belief of being cleared of wrongdoing or he can resign. If he, through the process, is cleared of wrongdoing then he will have the opportunity to rebuild trust, but either way, the residents of Smith County must have a government that the people believe in and that will make for a Better East Texas.