Petition to remove Justice of the Peace that set record-breaking bond filed

Posted at 9:04 PM, Feb 15, 2017

A Bell County attorney filed a petition to removed the Justice of the Peace who set a record-breaking bond.

Attorney Brett Pritchard, who owns a law firm in Killeen, filed the petition Wednesday afternoon. Pritchard claims that Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown was setting bonds that were deemed unconstitutional. 

Pritchard cites the $4 billion bond of Antonio Willis, who was accused of murder. 

The bond was lowered to $151,000. 

"[The $4 billion bond] embarrassed most attorneys. I think it embarrassed me because I'm from Bell County, and I thought man I can't believe someone from Bell County would do it. We look like the laughing stock," Pritchard said.

Pritchard said what really made him go after Brown was another bond issue: a $1,000 bond for someone charged with felony sexual assault. That was later raised to $125,000. 

Pritchard also cites Justice Brown's initial bond of $2,000 for a first-degree felony of burglary of habitation.

"What that does is causes danger to my family," Pritchard said. "I've got 7 kids. I don't want people on the street that are violent. I want to know that they will be at trial when they're supposed to be at trial."

The petition states that Pritchard claims Justice Brown is "incompetent to handle the position of Justice of the Peace." 

Pritchard is not the only one unhappy with Justice Brown. Another Bell County attorney, Jeff Parker, filed a complaint last week against Judge Brown.

"If she was trying to make a political statement, why did she not make the political statement? She made a individual make that statement on her behalf.," Parker said. "Judge Brown states that she was trying to make a statement with a four-billion dollar bond. At this point I think the statement she's making is she doesn't know what she's doing."

News Channel 25 reached out to Justice Brown for comment several times on Thursday, but phone calls were not returned.

Both district judges in Bell County have removed themselves from this case. The case has been referred to Williamson County to have another judge outside of the area oversee it.

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.