The judge who presided over the trial of ex-officer Amber Guyger has received a formal complaint against her, filed by an atheist group who took issue with the jurist witnessing to Guyger and presenting the prison-bound woman with her personal Bible.
What's the background?
Guyger was convicted of murder this week, for killing her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean, in his own apartment. The former police officer said she mistakenly entered Jean's home thinking it was her own, and shot him because she believed he was an intruder.
After Judge Tammy Kemp handed down Guyger's sentence of 10 years in prison, Jean's brother, Brandt Jean, displayed an incredible act of grace when he gave an impact statement saying that he forgave Guyger, encouraged her to dedicate her life to Christ, and then embraced his brother's killer.
Following Brandt Jean's statement — in the court room still filled with emotion — Judge Kemp descended from the bench, comforted the Jean family and then turned her attention back to Guyger, handing her a Bible and telling her:
You can have [my Bible]. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. Right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'
"He has a purpose for you," the judge continued. "This will strengthen you. You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this."
With that, the judge also hugged Guyger and added, "It's not because I'm good. It's because I believe in Christ. I'm not so good. You haven't done as much as you think you have, and you can be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters."
Judge Tammy Kemp Gives Amber Guyger a Bible After Botham Jean Murder Trial www.youtube.com
What does the complaint say?
According to a complaint filed Thursday with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct by atheist non-profit Freedom from Religion Foundation, Kemp's actions toward Guyger after sentencing were a violation of the separation of church and state.
"Delivering bibles and personally witnessing as a judge is an egregious abuse of power," the complaint alleged, adding further, "Judge Kemp otherwise appears to have handled a difficult trial with grace and aplomb, but that cannot excuse her inappropriate and unconstitutional actions, which are a serious abrogation of the freedom of conscience protected by our First Amendment."
The FFRF requested that the Commission on Judicial Conduct investigate Judge Kemp's actions and "take all appropriate steps to ensure no future misconduct."