The Houston Chronicle is reporting that after he was told that Sharon Keller had refused to accept an appeal from Michael Richard’s lawyers, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office gave them six minutes to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court or else the execution would begin.
Mark White, former Texas governor and former Texas Attorney General, is highly critical of Keller, Perry and Abbott in the Richard case. He says that Perry could have issued a 30-day stay of execution after Keller refused to stay open an extra 20 minutes to accept Richard’s appeal. As reported in the Chronicle:
White said Abbott should have stopped the execution himself or asked Gov. Rick Perry to institute a 30-day stay. White said Keller also should have allowed Richard to file an appeal.
White said that as governor he always made sure he could stop an execution right up to the last minute.
“When there was an execution pending, I had an open line to the execution chamber and the attorney general was there so Texas would never look like we were ghoulish, uncaring,” White said.
White said even if the state ultimately executed Richard, he had a right to have his appeals heard because that creates a fundamental citizen trust in the court system.
“That court of criminal appeals, that attorney general and that governor failed to halt one of the most egregious breaches of equity in the courts that I’ve ever known,” White said.