Sunday, June 26, 2005

Texas judge and DA had affair during capital murder trial?!

This is one of those stories that helps explain why so many of those statues of Lady Justice with the blindfold and scales always seem to show a little tittie.

Thanks to Injustice Anywhere for pointing me to this Salon story about Charles Dean Hood, the next Texan scheduled to be executed in 2005. The judge in his case at the time of the trial in 1989 was having an extramarital affair with the prosecuting attorney:

Hood, who was sentenced to death for a 1989 double murder, is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on June 30. Unfortunately for Hood, in the 15 years since he arrived on death row, the issue of the strange and not-so-secret relationship of State District Court Judge Verla Sue Holland and Collin County District Attorney Tom O'Connell has never been raised in a single state or federal court.
Unreal. IA declares she's confronted the same scenario in the courtroom in three different, lesser cases, which itself seems a scandal. But to think a judge and DA would countenance that conflict of interest in a death penalty case just boggles the mind. Read the whole story.

Hood's is the first of three Texas executions scheduled this summer.

UPDATE: The Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution the day before it was to have taken place.

1 comment:

123txpublicdefender123 said...

Just to be clear, I have never confronted the situation in a case I was actually defending. I have just heard about three separate judge-prosecutor affairs where the prosecutor was handling cases in that judge's court. I visualize law professors fainting at stories like this, but unfortunately, I don't think they are that unique. In the context of a death penalty case, though, I believe it is unconscionable.

By the way, I like the new format.