Friday, October 12, 2007

Houston lawyers to file second Keller complaint over refusal to allow final death appeal

The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association plans to file its own complaint with the Commission on Judicial Misconduct against Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller, reports Mark Bennett at Defending People.

Writes Bennett, "When Sharon Keller barred the courthouse doors to lawyers for Michael Richard, she killed Mr. Richard as surely as if she had put a bullet into his head on the courthouse steps. There can be very little doubt that, had Keller not acted as she had, Mr. Richard would be alive today."

For Harris County attorneys wishing to add their name to the complaint, says Bennett, today (Friday) "from about 10:30 a.m. to about noon I will be in the ready room on the 7th floor of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, 1201 Franklin Street at San Jacinto, with a copy of the complaint for you to sign."

Or, a commenter informs us, you can
download this signature page and fax it to the number on the page if you would like to sign on to the complaint, which will be filed on Monday.

See related prior Grits coverage, and more from Capital Defense Weekly, PDiddie, Kuff, Rick Casey, Vince, State of Mine, Simple Justice, and McBlogger. Image via Sharon Killer.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Download this signature page and fax it to the number on the page, if you would like to sign on to the complaint to be filed on Monday. 

Mark Bennett said...

Scott, thanks for the mention.

Non-lawyers can sign too. As anon, says, download the signature page; please fax it to my own fax number (832.201.7770) instead of to the HCCLA fax number listed on the page.

Anonymous said...

How about filing a complaint on the defense lawyers who don't know about Rule 9.2(a) and how you file after hours? Your narrow minded hatred of Sharon Keller is sad.

Anonymous said...

Where are we find the text of the complaint? I am a Texas attorney and would like to add my name to the complaint, but need to read it first...

Catonya said...

I was going to say I wish there was something for "non-lawyers" to add their voice to - thanks Mark. I'll fax mine to you today.

Mark Bennett said...

If you're not an HCCLA member, please don't sign the signature page with the HCCLA letterhead. I've provided another signature page, which I'velink ed to here along with PDF and RTF versions of the complaint that you can file yourself if you'd prefer.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Keller did not kill Mr. Richard, thejury did.

Anonymous said...

1:35 PM... the jury handed down the sentence but rest assured, the State of Texas killed Mr. Richard. Actually, take it back a step and you have a country that still has the barbaric practice of killing in the name of the law. I think we call it legalized murder in this country. Couple this with the incompetence of Sharon Keller and we don't even need a Court of Appeals. Just arrest them, give a speedy trial, sentence them to death and let Texas have them. They keep their killing machine in Huntsville well oiled at all times.

Anonymous said...

Well I signed the wrong page,good for me! Like one blogger said Rule 9.2(a)Was the lawyer golfing or chasing his sec.while his wife was at home cooking for him and the kids.

Anonymous said...

If there was any killing going on here, it was those idiots at TDS that waited till the last minute to file something (on a defendant whose execution date was set months ago). Oh, and their law licenses are deadly weapons.

The Abolishment Movement said...

I am so glad to see most people in agreement with this. I have so many letters from inmates who complain about thier shoddy trials, and injustices. The same names are mentioned over and over again.

TexPD4Parity said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the last day filing by TDS based on a decision by the Supreme Court on the same day to take up the issue of lethal injection in a Kentucky case? If that's the case, I think their lack of advance planning can be forgiven.

Anonymous said...

A few points:
1. This is not a novel claim. The Kentucky cert petition was filed last year, and the constitutionality of lethal injection was last year's hot topic. So if a lawyer is throwing the kitchen sink at a claim, he might as well throw a lethal injection thingy.
2. Assuming that a habeas was filed timely (i.e., the day before, in case problems arise) it should have included a lethal injection claim. Then an amendment could have been made to that petition after the grant of cert in Baze. It could have been in longhand and faxed to the court (yes, they have someone there to deal with the fax after 5 on an execution day).
3. I see nothing that indicates Keller even knew this was a death case. After 5:00 pm requests for emergency stays are not unknown in Texas. I don't see why she would choose this case (out of God knows how many) to crap on and say you can't even make an emergency stay request. The simple answer is that she probably didn't.
4. BTW, that's what they should have asked for (emergency stay). it sounds like some flunky from the TDS called the court and asked if the courthouse could remain open after five. A pretty dumb request, since an emergency stay request has nothing to do with the court staying open.
5. I think TDS's silence is deafening. I don't give a rat's ass what Dick DeGuerin says, 'cause he has no idea what actually happened.
6. I don't know what happened either. But I wouldn't wanna put my name all over something that, in the future, might turn out to be just typical, shoot-from-the-hip, day-of-execution brinksmanship from TDS.

sunray's wench said...

I've had a think about all of this, and voted on the Grits Survey.

While I think Judge Keller's vocaltiy on her own personal stance and opinions sits at odds with her ability to be an impartial upholder of justice, IN THIS INSTANCE I think she technically hasnt done anything wrong in following guidelines to the letter (whether she knew it would mean the inmate would die as a result or not). To have her removed from office, there would need to be some substantial rule-breaking on her part.

Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS SHARON KELLER HAVENT THESE CRIMINALS GOTTON AWAY WITH MURDER LONG ENOUGH???? WHAT ABOUT THE INOCCENT PEOPLE THEY KILL????
KAREN