Editorial: Texas justice closes at 5 p.m. PDF Print E-mail
Editorial: Texas justice closes at 5 p.m.

Copyright 16, 2007 Waco Tribune Editorial

Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, shamed the state by deciding that 20 minutes of her time was more important than a last-minute appeal for a man on death row.

Recognizing that the nation’s highest court would determine whether lethal injections violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the lawyers for Texas death row inmate Michael Richard began preparing an appeal for their client to the Texas’ highest criminal appeals court.

Richard was scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. on the day that the U.S. Supreme Court opened an appeal opportunity for him. . . .

Forewarned that the last-minute appeal was on its way but would be a few minutes late due a computer crash, several other judges on the state’s highest criminal appeals court stayed late so they could handle the appeal.

The computer malfunction made it impossible to print out and deliver 11 copies of the 108-page appeal petition by 5 p.m. Richard’s attorney notified the clerk’s office that the appeal would be delivered 20 minutes late.

Questioned, Keller cavalierly said, “We close at 5.”

An ethics complaint has been filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct by 19 Texas lawyers asking that Keller either be removed from office or disciplined for violating the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

One way or another, Keller should be held accountable for her shocking behavior.

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