Cleared East Texas county judge returns to work

October 14, 2011 6:42:26 AM PDT
A county judge in East Texas will return to his elected duties after being cleared of an official oppression charge over a protester removed from a meeting.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has lifted the suspension of Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler, allowing him to resume his duties Friday.

A visiting judge Wednesday decided prosecutors did not prove their case against Fowler. A charge of abuse of official capacity was dropped.

Upshur County commissioners in September 2010 decided to stop hearing public comment. A critic, who wore duct tape over his mouth in protest, was removed from a public meeting last November.

A grand jury Dec. 29 indicted Upshur and two other county officials, who still face trial. Commissioners the following day lifted the ban on public comment.