The Botham Jean murder case may have drawn to a close with the conviction of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, but the controversy rages on. Guyger received a 10-year sentence, a bid that some have argued was fairly light for someone who broke into an innocent, unarmed man’s home and shot him to death. However, that’s not the main concern for ethics investigators as Judge Tammy Kemp has had a complaint filed against her, according to CNN.
Following the conclusion of the trial, Judge Kemp met Guyger at the defendant’s table and handed her a Bible. “You can have mine. I have three or four more at home,” she reportedly said before hugging Guyger. “This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. It says right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life…'”
The exchange may have been heartwarming to some, but it was strange to others who couldn’t wrap their heads around a judge stepping down from their bench to embrace a convicted murderer who admitted to killing someone. Judge Kemp has faced scrutiny on social media and in the press, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation made their voices heard by issuing a formal complaint to the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The foundation alleges that Judge Kemp’s action blurred the lines of separation of church and state.
“We, too, believe our criminal justice system needs more compassion from judges and prosecutors,” they wrote in the complaint. “But here, compassion crossed the line into coercion. And there can be few relationships more coercive than a sentencing judge in a criminal trial and a citizen accused and convicted of a crime.” Judge Kemp has not commented publicly about her actions in the courtroom or the allegations against her.