Thursday, November 8, 2007

In the same vein, no pun intended

Well, no good, bad, or indifferent deed goes unpunished. The widow of the late Michael Richard, Marsha Richard, has filed a federal lawsuit against Judge Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for violating his due process rights when she said the court will close promptly at 5:00 p.m., and not remain open, so his lawyers could file his last minute appeal. The appeal was ostensibly going to be filed by 5:20 p.m. and was late due to a computer malfunction at the lawyer's office.

Judge Cheryl Johnson, who was there, and apparently the Judge tasked to wait for any last minute appeal in this case, was not notified by Judge Keller that she refused to let the court accept the filing past the 5:00 p.m. close of the court. This, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had earlier that day announced they would review a case from Kentucky, which uses the same procedure and chemical "cocktail" to execute condemned prisoners as Texas, to see if the procedure amounted to "cruel and unusual" punishment and therefore was unconstitutional.

Another appeal filed by lawyers based on the same grounds as was to be filed in the Richard case, resulted in a stay of that prisoner's execution.

Ya know, if the State is going to execute someone, let's at least follow the law and procedures, and add a dash of common sense and humanity into the equation, including the thought "well SCOTUS is looking at this, why don't we wait the extra 20 minutes to allow the filing of the last minute appeal, and we can execute him later"?

We are supposed to be the good guys, y'all.

Executed man's wife sues judge who refused to allow appeal

Cindy George: Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — The wife of executed killer Michael Richard filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday accusing Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller of causing the inmate's lethal injection.
Marsha Richard of Houston claims that Keller had no authority to prevent what could have been a successful appeal to stay her husband's execution.

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