Appeals Justice David Lewis suspended without pay after alcohol abuse

By Hanna Nakano | Nov 13, 2015

Justice David Lewis of the Fifth District Court of Appeals has been suspended for six months without pay as a result of alcohol abuse.

Justice Lewis’ attorneys released a statement saying Lewis “chose to take full responsibility for his situation by seeking out and successfully completing an alcohol treatment program and remains in recovery.”

Lewis attended a treatment program before his suspension.

In the 13 months prior to his suspension, Lewis had not been at work nor had he heard a case according to records obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth ABC station WFFA.

He did, however, continue to collect salary at that time, WFFA reports.

When Texans for Public Justice Research Director Andrew Wheatasked if collecting a salary while not working was fair, he responded poignantly.

“Is alcoholism fair?” Wheat told the Southeast Texas Record .

Wheat expressed concern for Lewis on a personal level.

“It sounds like this guy’s life is a mess and that it’s been brought to the attention of the proper authorities,” Wheat said. “Looks like he’s no longer drawing pay, so let the system take its course, I think – and hope the guy gets his life together and maybe even before the end of his term.”

According to Lewis’ attorneys, alcohol did not affect his decision making when he was at work.

"There was not a single allegation presented to the Commission, that Justice Lewis was ever under the influence of alcohol while on the job," Lewis’ attorneys wrote in a press release addressing the issue.

Lewis, who received his law degree from Baylor University, was elected to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2012.

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