Smith County commissioners accept judge’s formal resignation

Smith County commissioners accept judge’s formal resignation

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Smith County commissioners have formally accepted the resignation of ex-Smith County Judge Joel Baker during a Tuesday meeting.

During the regularly scheduled meeting, commissioners also voted to make Nathaniel Moran county judge permanently.

The county released an agenda for the court's regularly scheduled meeting Monday.

Item No. 1 on the open session portion included receiving and accepting "the resignation of County Judge Joel P. Baker, effective Nov. 4, 2016, in accordance with the agreement signed by Judge Joel P. Baker and the State Commission of Judicial Conduct."

Item No. 2 involved taking action to permanently fill the vacancy created by his departure.

In September, Baker announced his resignation. He was suspended without pay in June after he was indicted on three misdemeanor counts for violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Baker signed a voluntary agreement Sept. 20 to resign from his position as judge in resolution of the investigation into sexting allegations. In the resignation, he agreed to officially and permanently resign from the office of Smith County judge.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct began its investigation on March 15 following a KLTV report exposing accusations that Baker sent hundreds of sexually explicit messages and images to a woman while on official government business.

The voluntary resignation agreement signed by Baker and the SCJC chair says the commission is closing its investigation in exchange for Baker's resignation.

Judge Nathaniel Moran has served as county judge since Baker's departure.

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