Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh no, she didn't?

Oh yes she did.

Is anyone really surprised? This Judge is an embarrassment and should just go or be made to leave. A fundamental aspect of being a judge is that you serve the law. You follow the rules and procedures, you do not rush people to death because you are convinced they are guilty, you do not circumvent the policies of your organization in this rush to commit legally sanctioned murder.

The death penalty is an awesome and chilling responsibility for any Judge to handle. If a Judge seems to take pleasure in it they should go. They should be going to therapy and counseling as well.

Do NOT murder people Judge Keller. Follow the rules so it is not murder but is properly administered justice as the law demands of you and all of us who work in the criminal justice system.

Actions in death case seem to conflict with policy
R.G. Ratcliffe: Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller apparently violated court policies for handling death penalty cases when she closed the court clerk's doors on Michael Richard's efforts to file a last-minute appeal before his execution.

The court, in response to a national outcry against Keller's actions, adopted written policies last month to make certain a death row inmate's appeals always go first to an assigned judge.

In response to a public information request from the San Antonio Express-News, Keller said in a letter that no written court procedures existed Sept. 25, the day of Richard's execution. The new written rules reflected the court's unwritten policies on that day, she said.

Keller was not the judge assigned to handle Richard's appeal when she decided to close the clerk's office so his lawyers could not file a late appeal. Judge Cheryl Johnson was in charge of Richard's case the day of his execution but did not learn of his lawyers' attempts to file for a stay of execution until the day after his death.

A lawyer who has been representing other attorneys in filing complaints against Keller for her handling of the case said the judge's response to the information request clearly shows she violated the court's unwritten policies in cutting off Richard's appeal.

"To me, it's a pretty stunning admission that she operated totally outside of their procedures," said Jim Harrington, who has coordinated the complaints with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. "She doesn't have respect for the processes of the court, which are designed to protect due process."

Keller did not respond to a request for an interview, and her office referred calls to appeals court Judge Tom Price, who also did not respond.

On the day of Richard's execution, the U.S. Supreme Court had agreed to consider whether the chemicals used for lethal injection in the United States amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Richard's lawyers attempted to get a stay for him while that case was under review. But they had computer problems and asked the state appeals court clerk's office to remain open late to accept the appeal. Keller ordered the clerk to close at the usual time, 5 p.m. Richard was executed three hours later for a 1986 rape and murder.

The Supreme Court three days later halted another Texas execution based on the lethal injection appeal. The court with its action created a de facto national moratorium on executions.

Since Richard's execution, lawyers from around Texas have filed complaints against Keller with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Death penalty opponents have called for her to be removed from the bench.