Criticism is rising about Sharon Keller’s unethical decision to refuse to accept a late appeal from Michael Richard’s lawyers. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct should investigate the matter and determine if Keller should be disciplined, including whether she should be removed from office.
An official inquiry is the best way to determine what exactly happened, including whether Sharon Keller should have consulted with the other judges on the CCA, in particular with the one judge who was assigned to handle any late motions in Richard’s case.
Judge Cathy Cochran questioned whether or not justice had been served in the Richard case.
“First off, was justice done in the Richard case? And secondly, will the public perceive that justice was done and agree that justice was done?” Cochran said.
“Our courts should be open to always redress a true wrong, and as speedily as possible. That’s what courts exist for.”
Fertile Ground, in a post titled Action of State Court of Criminal Appeals an embarrassment to all Texans, says “I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the offices of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to hear the blame-game conversations resulting from last week’s SNAFU over a request to stay the execution of a convicted murderer. I’m assuming the members of the court have consciences and are discussing the consequences of their inattention to justice”.
A blog called Connecting with the heart of Texas says “due to the lack of better judgement on a Texas Judge’s behalf, our supposed equal distribution of punishment is broken.”
Wolfe’s Musings, who strongly supports the death penalty, says:
Michael Richard was guilty. Michael Richard deserved to die.
So why am I unhappy with this “Hang ‘em high” Republican judge?
The death penalty, like abortion, is one of those contentious moral issues that our country battles over. Many people sincerely believe that giving the State the power to put even guilty people to death is wrong.
Moreover, everyone, I would hope, believes that only the genuinely guilty should be executed.
And finally, justice must not only be done (as I believe it was in Michael Richard’s case), it must be seen to be done.
And I do not believe it was seen to be done.
Texas Chunks of Joy says:
This incident has sent shockwaves of dismay through the state, country and world.
This is the ultimate case of beaurocratic nonsense, and in this case it was a life or death situation. In the case of a death penalty case, EVERY measure possible should be taken to give the defendent the means to appeal. ABSOLUTELY NO court should ever refuse to stay open late to hear a motion of such importance. The Texas Court system needs to slow down, especially in a death case. Communication lines between courts, judges, and lawyers need to be broadened, refined, and put into standard practice.