Saturday, December 15, 2007

Defending the indefensible

Okay, if what she says is true, why didn't she pass them along to Judge Johnson, instead of saying the clerk's office will not stay open to receive the late filed brief?

Look to what she says in her brief to give you a clue as to how her mind works to justify her inexcusable behavior.

"In her motion, Keller acknowledged that as the court's chief administrator, she alone could have ordered the clerk's office to remain open past Richard's execution, but such action would have been discretionary taken only if she considered it "necessary or advisable."

Let's see, the SCOTUS granted cert that very same day on a case with an appeal exactly on point with what Richard's attorneys were attempting to get filed. Yet you didn't believe you needed to take action, it wouldn't be necessary or advisable, while a man's life, no matter how reprehensible he may have been, rested on your discretion to accept a brief filed twenty minutes late?

Perhaps you should be held in contempt for this inexcusable act, I know I hold you in contempt.

Judge defends actions in execution case

Lisa Sandberg: Express-News

AUSTIN — The Texas judge accused of improperly denying a death row inmate a last-minute appeal has asked a federal judge to dismiss the wrongful death suit filed against her by the executed man's widow.

Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller contends that while she ordered the court clerk's office closed promptly at 5 p.m. — one hour before Michael Wayne Richard's scheduled execution on Sept. 25 and three hours before it actually took place — the rest of the courthouse stayed open.

Three judges sat in their offices ready to handle any last-minute appeals, and it was Richard's attorneys, Keller argued in court papers filed here Thursday, who failed to contact them when they realized their appeal would be filed late.

Richard's lawyers were in Houston. The court is in Austin.

Keller has garnered national attention, almost none of it flattering, for refusing to delay the court's regular closing time on the day Richard was executed, despite urgent calls from defense attorneys alerting her office that they were having computer problems and begging for extra time.

But in her motion, Keller said Texas law "provides a clear and unambiguous avenue for litigants to file documents with the (Court of Criminal Appeals) directly through any of its judges, so Richard did not need the CCA clerk's office to stay open after hours to file his motion."

Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, called Keller's argument "shameless."