Local judge barred, apologizes after making racial slurs

'I did not intend to offend anyone,' Senior Judge Mark Luitjen says

By Paul Venema - Reporter, Misael Gomez - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Senior State District Court Judge Mark Luitjen is apologizing for making racially inappropriate remarks while serving as an auxiliary court visiting judge.

The remarks were disclosed in an incident report that resulted in Luitjen's removal from the list of available visiting judges by Regional Administrative Judge Sid Harle.

Luitjen said he made the remarks while having a private conversation with a court reporter.

"What I said was, after we talked to each other about this for two to three minutes, 'It was easier when they used to call them wetbacks and mojaos," Luitjen said.

Luitjen said he was referring to undocumented immigrants who had appeared in court that day.

"I didn’t intend to offend anyone and I don’t think I did. The court reporter I was talking with was not offended, she told me that herself," Luitjen said. "Everyone else in that room was Hispanic and it wasn’t like you were trying to have a conversation where you would whisper something because you knew it would offend someone."

Luitjen said that "words matter" and that he apologizes to anyone that may have been offended by his remarks.

Whether the incident will be forwarded to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for possible punitive action has not yet been determined.

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