Judge interrupts jury, says God told him defendant is not guilty

Posted: Updated:
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) -- A Texas judge overseeing the trial of a woman accused of trafficking her teenage niece recused himself after interrupting jury deliberations to push for an acquittal.

The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reported the jury nonetheless returned a guilty verdict last week despite state District Judge Jack Robison intervening. Court administrator Steve Thomas said Friday the judge was not commenting.

The newspaper reported that Robison apparently entered the jury room after the court learned that a verdict had been reached. Robison later apologized from the bench and said, "When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it."

Juror Joseph Smith told the newspaper it "obviously" wasn't correct for the judge to come in and try swaying their opinion. The jury handed down a 25-year sentence after Robison stepped aside.

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.