Judge defends giving ex-cop who killed unarmed neighbour a hug and a bible | IOL News

Judge Tammy Kemp said she didn't understand why people were upset that she hugged convicted murderer Amber Guyger after sentencing her.

8.10.2019

Judge Tammy Kemp said she didn't understand why people were upset that she hugged convicted murderer Amber Guyger after sentencing her.

Judge Tammy Kemp said she didn't understand why people were upset that she hugged convicted murderer Amber Guyger after sentencing her.

Both moments went viral, and Kemp's highly unusual act elicited a split response. Some praised it as a rare moment of compassion in a cold criminal justice system, while others derided it as a grave ethical breach and yet another example of how white defendants are treated better than defendants of colour.

Kemp saw a woman changed, she told the AP, someone who might seek God's forgiveness if she knew where to start if she had a Bible of her own.

It's possible Guyger could appeal the decision and the case could wind up back in front of Kemp, who may then have to recuse herself, Williams said.

Kemp did not respond to interview requests from The Post, but she told the AP this was the first time she has acknowledged her Christianity to a defendant or given one a Bible.

Kemp flipped to a page in the New Testament - John 3:16, a verse highlighting God's love - and said, "This is where you start." She picked that passage, she told the AP, so Guyger "could recognize that, even given the fact that she murdered someone, God still loves her."

"It is perfectly acceptable for private citizens to express their religious beliefs in court, but the rules are different for those acting in a governmental role . . . it violates a vital constitutional principle for a sitting judge to promote personal religious beliefs while acting in her official capacity," the complaint read.

And it further exacerbates the criminal justice system's racial divide, where leniency is more often afforded to white defendants.

She soundly defeated the Democratic incumbent in the primary and ran unopposed in the general election. Four years later, she won reelection, earning an endorsement from the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News, which praised her management of court business. Kemp hasn't yet said whether she plans to seek a third term.

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