A visiting judge presiding over the legal battle between Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox and Galveston County Judge Mark Henry recently issued a ten-page order granting temporary injunction in favor of the former.
Judge Sharolyn Wood’s order, filed July 6, condemned Henry for purposely interfering with the independence of the county’s judiciary and its ability to perform its judicial functions, one of these being the employment of Bonnie Quiroga as director of Judicial Administration.
“This court finds that petitioner Cox has demonstrated the irreparable injury if a temporary injunction is not issued as shown by the conduct of respondent Henry who attempted to stymie the effort of the judges to restore a judicial administrator,” the order states.
Cox sued Henry in the Galveston County 405th District Court last month on grounds the defendant violated orders in relation to Quiroga reassuming the position she held for nearly 15 years until her termination on July 24, 2014.
According to Cox’s lawsuit, Henry was ordered to facilitate in Quiroga’s return to the job on June 8, but instead engaged in acts detrimental to the court administrator, including but not limited to barring her entry into the Galveston County Justice Center and denying computer access to her office on the center’s fourth floor.
The original petition further asserts that the Galveston County Commissioners Court, which Henry leads, was scheduled to meet on June 9 to discuss items pertaining to Cox and Quiroga. Said items, explained Cox, were placed on the meeting’s agenda in an effort to defy his court’s orders.
The commissioners court, in turn, claimed Cox undermined its authority and deprived it of due process.
Visiting Judge David E. Garner granted Cox a temporary restraining order against Henry.
Wood ordered Henry to honor the reinstatement of Quiroga, as well as barred him from impeding the process.
Henry unsuccessfully appealed the order in the Texas First Court of Appeals.
The litigation is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 11, 2016.
Galveston County 405th District Court Case No. 15-CV-583