There seems to be something in the water this election cycle with Tarrant County Justices of the Peace. Tarrant has three troubled JPs, Russ Casey, Gary Ritchie, and Jacqueline Wright. Direct Action Texas broke the stories on Russ Casey and Gary Ritchie. Ritchie’s court coordinator was indicted on 7 counts and we expect criminal indictments against Russ Casey soon. Now Jacqueline Wright enters the spotlight.
Wright has a long history of problems, but Saturday February 3rd, her latest problem was caught on video. The video is from the surveillance of the very courthouse where she works. In the video you see Wright being dropped off at the courthouse by her husband, Ross Ladart. Later, Ladart returns to pick her up. He stops, gets out, and proceeds to rip out and discard two signs promoting Chris Gregory, Wright’s opponent. The actions of Ladart are brazen and shocking. He has no hesitation, committing his crime in clear daylight. It’s hard to catch, but in the lower right corner you can actually see Wright wait for Ladart to finish vandalizing the signs, then she comes out to the car and leaves with him. Outrageous!
Wright is no stranger to controversy. In 2015 she was harshly reprimanded by The State Commission of Judicial Conduct. The commission found that “Judge Wright failed to comply with the law and engaged in extra-judicial conduct that cast reasonable doubt on her capacity to act impartially as a judge…” This reprimand resulted from Judge Wright’s attempt to bully and bribe her then opponent, Vickie Phillips, out of the race. Wright went so far as to imply a threat to the Tarrant County Republican Chairwoman. Wright went on to win re-election, then made this public statement – “to my opponent…here’s an Italian wish…’bofongoo’ and that’s accompanied by a flick of the wrist under the chin.”
Wright has also had controversy outside the court. In 2012 she and Ladart were accused of swindling around $46,000 from an elderly couple on a bogus real estate transaction. The couple trusted her because she is a judge, in doing so they lost their retirement. The 342nd District Court issued a summary judgement against Wright for $85,000, but she quickly filed and hid behind bankruptcy in order to avoid paying the judgement. In fact Tarrant County District Attorney, Sharen Wilson, sent the victims a letter confirming that Wright could have been prosecuted for theft, however by the time the DA’s office had it the statute of limitations had run out. Wright certainly knows how to dodge ’em.
Not only is Wright’s conduct unbecoming of a judge, it’s unbecoming of any employee. She is your employee and voters decide if she can keep her job on March 6th, or sooner – early voting starts February 19th.