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Texas spouse convicted of bribing judge over child custody

The wife of a Texas man supported her spouse's child custody case by bribing a judge, according to a Collin County jury. The 56-year-old defendant could be imprisoned for life for bribery, money laundering and organized crime.

Prosecutors claimed the woman tossed $150,000 at the reelection campaign of a Collin County judge in 2008. The money allegedly would ensure the removal of a family law judge that ruled against her husband in an ongoing child custody dispute.

The woman is not the only defendant in the reported bribery scheme. The Collin County judge, who won the election four years ago, was forced off the bench and convicted last fall. Her sentence included 10 years of probation.

The judge told the court she never knew the couple who allegedly bribed her. According to prosecutors, the middle man between the couple and the judge was a campaign manager. A prosecution witness testified that he heard the campaign manager and the defendant's husband talking about "owning a Collin County judge."

Through the woman's trial, the defense attorney insisted her client did make payments to the campaign manager, but was not involved in the bribery of the judge.

Trials for the judge's campaign chief and the husband caught up in the child custody suit are scheduled for later this year.

Continued battles over child custody can drain divorced parents emotionally and financially. Ongoing parental conflict can also cause unhealthy, negative responses in children.

The family court aids parents who cannot agree how to co-parent after a divorce. Parents who pay to influence a judge's decision and judges who accept money for legal favors commit crimes. They wrongfully place their own concerns over the best interests of a child.

Source: crimeblog.dallasnews.com, "Jury convicts woman of bribing former judge in Collin County," Valerie Wigglesworth, June 27, 2012

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