- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

TYLER, Texas (AP) - A former East Texas county judge has pleaded no contest to violating the Texas Open Meetings Act and was sentenced to 30 days of probation.

Ex-Smith County Judge Joel Baker on Monday agreed to the one count plea deal that also includes $200 fine. Two additional misdemeanor counts were dropped in the agreement reached during jury selection in Tyler.

Baker in June was indicted and accused of holding illegal closed meetings in 2014 to discuss a traffic monitoring contract. He was then suspended without pay by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which three months later announced Baker would resign amid a sexting investigation.

Baker, who’d been Smith County judge since 2007, signed the resignation agreement and the commission dropped its disciplinary review. He’s barred from future Texas judicial posts.


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