Dem judge running for appellate seat caught on hot mic implying murder defendant is guilty: ‘Going to prison for a long time’

News & Politics

Earlier this week, a judge in Texas had to declare a mistrial, recuse herself from two cases, and apologize profusely after she accidentally live streamed comments implying that a man accused of murder is guilty.

The defendant in the murder case is Jorge Esparza, and the allegations against him are horrifying.

According to prosecutors, several years ago, Esparza became obsessed with a former lover who had jilted him — so obsessed, in fact, that he began stalking her. At one point, he even allegedly sent her text messages that threatened harm against a new man in her life, 27-year-old Ricardo Medina-Madriz.

The text messages were apparently more than mere idle threats. In 2020, Esparza allegedly shot and killed Medina-Madriz just after the victim had finished taking the woman out on their first date.

Thus, Esparza’s defense team had their work cut out for them when the murder trial against their client began on Tuesday.

Dallas County Judge Nancy Mulder, a Democrat currently running for a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, was presiding over it. As she often does, Mulder opted to live stream the trial on her YouTube channel.

On the first day of the trial, prosecutors showed jurors a video of an interview between Esparza and investigators. Afterward, Esparza became so distraught that his lawyers claimed he suffered a panic attack.

Judge Mulder dismissed the jury around 5:10 p.m. Approximately 20 minutes later, with the courtroom almost completely empty, she returned to the bench, and she and an unidentified man had a conversation that was captured on Mulder’s forgotten live stream.

During their conversation, the unidentified man suggested the defendant, Esparza, be placed on suicide watch because of the alleged panic attack. Mulder disagreed and proceeded to make several damning statements about Esparza:

  • “He’s upset he got caught,”
  • “I think he’s crying for himself because he knows he’s going to prison for a long time,” and
  • “We all know he’s going to get convicted and get a bunch of time.”

She also insisted that Esparza committed the murder to show his ex how much of a man he is.

Eventually, Mulder recalled that her live stream mic was still up and running. “Oh, shoot, I’m still streaming!” she exclaimed.

The video of the live stream has since been deleted from Mulder’s YouTube account, but Mulder had to take several additional steps to try to rectify her misstep.

First, she declared a mistrial in the case against Esparza. She then recused herself from two pending cases against Esparza.

Finally, she issued an apology to Esparza’s attorneys as well as to the public. “I deeply regret the comments I made during what I believed was a private conversation with court staff in an empty courtroom,” she told the Dallas Morning News.

“I should not have said what I did and am truly sorry. I sincerely hope that my comments do not negatively affect the public’s confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our local judiciary.”

When asked whether she worried that her recusals in these cases might affect her chances of winning the appellate court seat, Mulder tried to spin the entire experience in her favor.

“Coming from the trenches of being a criminal trial judge gives me a better understanding of how difficult a job it is, which will translate to a more compassionate view from the appellate bench.”

She also claimed she intends to continue live streaming the trials before her. A link to her YouTube channel remains on the court’s website.

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