Sharon Keller has filed and received approval for a 15-day extension to the time she needs to file a response to the charges of misconduct filed against her by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. She now has until March 24 to answer charges that she violated her judicial duties by declining to accept an after-hours appeal from a death row inmate in 2007.
Keller refused to grant a 20 minute extension to the lawyers of a man set for execution so that they could file an appeal on the day he was executed, but now she wants an extension to file her response.
This is real news. It is not from The Onion or the Daily Show. It really happened. How long before Saturday Night Live does a skit on Keller.
Already today, Austin’s humor columnist John Kelso devoted his column to Keller’s antics.
Hey, maybe “American Idol” was on that night, and Keller wanted to make sure none of the folks in the office missed it. And you know how backed up traffic gets on MoPac.
On the other hand, it was a Tuesday, and as far I know there is no such thing as Tuesday Night Football.
Anyway, on the morning in question, Sept. 25, 2007, the thinking was that courts across the country would wait until the Supreme Court decided on the lethal injection question before proceeding with more executions.
Keller, however, apparently had a pretty tight schedule. So that afternoon she left work early to meet a repairman at her house.
That might seem a bit callous under the circumstances, but we all know how hard it is to get some of these Mister Fixit types to come back later. Meanwhile, Richard’s lawyers, who wanted to file that stay, were having computer problems. So, according to the ethics charges against Keller, around 4:45 — 15 minutes before quittin’ time at the appeals court — Richard’s lawyers asked the court clerk’s office to stay open a few minutes late to accept the request.
Ed Marty, the appeals court’s general counsel, got on the phone to relay the request to Keller. Marty says he told Keller that Richard’s lawyers “wanted the court to stay open late.” Keller says Marty asked only about keeping the clerk’s office open past 5 p.m. And that she said, “No.” The clerks, you see, went home on schedule every day at quittin’ time.
No sense inconveniencing the help just ’cause some inmate’s about to get offed, right?