A judge told a jury that God had asked him to push them for a not-guilty verdict in the case of a woman accused of trafficking her teenage niece, it has been claimed.
District judge Jack Robison interrupted jurors’ deliberations to say they should not convict 32-year-old Gloria Elizabeth Romero Perez.
According to The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung he then apologised and said: “When God tells me to do something, I gotta do it.”
Judge Robison then reportedly recused himself for the remainder of proceedings.
Perez, of Buda, Texas, was convicted anyway on one count of continuous traffic of a person and jailed for 25 years, the site said.
Defence lawyer Sylvia Cavazos told AP she would seek a re-trial.
She said Judge Robison had also expressed in chambers that he felt God had told him to act, and that he felt he had done the right thing.
Court administrator Steve Thomas said on Friday the judge would not comment.
Authorities filed charges against Perez in August 2016, the Herald Zeitung reported.
She was accused of paying $6,000 (£4,300) to smuggle the then-15-year-old girl to the US from Honduras.
Perez allegedly then received money from an older man with whom the the girl had gone to live – and whose child she has since given birth to.
But the girl’s aunt was acquitted of one charge of selling a child, the Herald-Zeitung reported.
Additional reporting by agencies