The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates the separation of church and state, filed a complaint that a Texas judge overstepped her authority when she prayed with and gave a Bible to former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Guyger was sentenced on Wednesday to ten years in prison. Minutes after the jury announced the sentence, Judge Tammy Kemp hugged Guyger and gave her a Bible. The foundation complained to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that Kemp instructed Guyger on how to read the Bible and which passages to pay attention to.
The group called Kemp’s actions “inappropriate” and “unconstitutional.” The group quoted Kemp as telling Guyger, “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.” The foundation’s Andrew Seidel says the incident “indicates that if you come before this judge in the future, you can hammer home on her Christian beliefs. This shows that the judge is not impartial and can be swayed by such an argument.” Kemp’s actions call into question her impartiality in the case, said Kenneth Williams, a criminal law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.