Judge Repairs Guns in Courtroom

Thursday, July 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) — A state judge has been reprimanded for repairing guns on the bench as he presided over jury selection in a murder trial.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct said Wednesday that District Judge H. Lon Harper ``failed to act in a dignified manner'' and ``failed to maintain order and decorum in the courtroom.''

Harper said the time he spent repairing two single-action Colt revolvers took only a few hours during jury selection that took weeks last fall.

``Almost all the judges carry guns. I just should have just kept mine under the robe instead of outside of it with a screwdriver,'' Harper said. ``I guess I won't do any more handgun repair on the bench.''

The commission also cited Harper for allowing a court bailiff to read a British tabloid — which included a picture of a man being eaten by a python — during jury selection and for distributing business cards for his private mediation business that were adorned with the state seal.