Lawyer’s Disrespectful Letter to Black Judge Sparks Outrage, Results In His Termination From Law Firm

Judge Erica Hughes

A Houston lawyer faced swift consequences after sending a derogatory letter to U.S. immigration Judge Erica Hughes, questioning her authority with a disrespectful tone.

The attorney, Ben Aderholt, penned the letter on his firm’s letterhead, addressing Judge Hughes by her first name and questioning her integrity.

The incident, which occurred in February, resulted in Aderholt’s termination from Coats-Rose, his former law firm, due to what was deemed as harassment towards the judge.

In a statement to Fox 26, Aderholt expressed remorse for his use of the firm’s letterhead, acknowledging it as an “error of judgment.”

However, he did not apologize for the insulting content of the letter. Coats-Rose confirmed that Aderholt’s firing was a result of the threatening nature of his communication with the judge.

Judge Hughes, who was elected as a criminal court judge in Harris County before her appointment to the federal bench, condemned the derogatory language used by Aderholt.

She highlighted the disrespect faced by Black female judges, stating:

“Calling me Erica, as if we are friends or as if he knows me, started off in the wrong direction.”

Hughes emphasized the challenges faced by Black female judicial candidates in Houston and the discriminatory treatment they often endure.

In response to the controversy, Hughes underscored the need for respect and equality in the legal profession.

“It’s very disheartening, in 2024, I receive letters like this calling me an animal, calling me by my first name,” she said. “Democracy is what this country was built on. I served in the military, so I can run as a judicial candidate in a free country, as long as I’m qualified.”

The incident reignited discussions surrounding racial discrimination and the treatment of Black women in positions of authority.

Hughes defended her qualifications and condemned the legacy of slavery, which she said was evident in the discriminatory treatment she faced.

She reiterated her commitment to upholding the integrity of the judiciary, despite facing unjust attacks.