The mysterious death of Sandra Bland continues to stir up questions involving police brutality and criminal procedure. Bland’s death while in custody was officially ruled a suicide by hanging, although the police booking report has come under renewed scrutiny.
Judge Carbett “Trey” J. Duhon III, who is one of the judges presiding over Bland’s case, addressed the press regarding inconsistencies in the report. Of particular concern are the preliminary drug test results and the wrist injuries observed on the autopsy report. Both of these items could be “relevant to [Bland’s] state of mind,” but the discrepancy in forms does not reflect well upon police handled her arrest and intake. One glaring aspect of this news report is how it points toward a now-deleted Facebook post made by Judge Duhon:
Also Thursday, Waller County Judge Trey Duhon addressed inconsistencies in the jail intake forms released Wednesday. In one case, Bland is listed as being depressed. On another form, she is not. In one form, she said she attempted suicide after a miscarriage in 2015. Another form said it was 2014. She also gave different answers about whether she was on medication.
Those were filled out less than three hours apart. On Thursday, Duhon said any inconsistencies came from Bland herself and that the jailers put down the answers Bland gave them.
Duhon wrote on Facebook the evidence may not fit with everyone’s narrative or agenda. But he says, the facts will be the facts, and the facts will demonstrate the truth. Duhon also said in his Facebook post that reports of the first autopsy being flawed are false, and that a request was made to the family attorney to preserve Bland’s body just in case more testing needs to be done.
Duhon has since deleted the Facebook post in question (and his entire Facebook page). He also deleted his Twitter page after he fired off a series of tweets on the Bland case this morning. The tweets were captured by captured by Ferrari Sheppard and preserved for posterity:
Judge Duhon is publicly speaking on a case that is still wide open. This behavior runs against judicial codes in all jurisdictions. (The same codes restrict Texas County Judges, so they apply to Duhon.) Ethan Brown, an investigative reporter well-versed in police corruption (Brown’s Medium story about the police corruption in South Louisiana that may have inspired the first season of True Detective is a must-read), tweeted an American Bar Code of Judicial Conduct provision, which states, “A judge should abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court.”
Brown also believes county officials are mounting a case against Bland, possibly to protect police interests.