Teresa Hawthorne, the Dallas County judge who ruled that the state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional, must recuse herself from a capital murder case, a judge ruled today.and
Assistant District Attorney David Alex argued that Hawthorne's bias against the death penalty was clear from statements she made during a December 19 pre-trial hearing. He quoted, in bits and pieces, things the judge said in open court that day, such as: "I remember when women and blacks could not vote. I remember when so-called witches were burned. I remember when gays had to hide to be in the military." Hawthorne said then she wasn't trying to engage in judicial activism; she insisted last month that she was not trying to "buck the system or stir the waters." Alex vehemently disagreed. "The judge analogized the death penalty to some very heinous times in our American history," Alex told the court. It's obvious, he said, that she has "very strong emotional, personal feelings against the death penalty. ... But none of these things have anything to do with legal precedent."