Now she's even seeing protesters outside her home, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has filed a complaint with the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission, as did the Texas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association and other prominent Texas attorneys before them. A Washington Post columnist called for her ouster. Here in Texas, the Dallas News editorialized that "It may be impossible to remove the stain that Sharon Keller ... has placed on the state's judiciary."
Yesterday, Richard's widow sued Judge Keller over the decision, saying it "exceeded her authority." A "duty judge" had been assigned to the case, but Judge Keller rejected Richard's appeal without consulting her. For that reason, I disagree with this blogger that the widow has filed a "junk lawsuit." In any event, it's certainly one more headache.
For her sake, I hope Keller owns a dog because nobody else seems to want her around. At this point, for the good of the court and for the sake of the reputation of the Texas justice system, I think the most honorable thing would be for her to resign her seat.
Think about it, Judge Keller: I bet you'll feel better.
At least one substantive reform has come from the Richard fiasco this week.As Quorum Report put it on their Daily Buzz:
IN APPARENT REBUKE TO KELLER, COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS ESTABLISHES EMAIL URGENT APPEAL SYSTEMTexas Kaos has more, and here's the Dallas News' coverage. An assistant DA from Texas blogging at Man o' Law praised the CCA's decision to accept e-filings, and summed up my overall view on Keller's actions, declaring:
Supposed fail safe system aimed at preventing Chief Justice Keller or anyone else from preemptively blocking future emergency appeals
After the national embarassment of Chief Justice Sharon Keller circumventing her colleagues and locking the doors to prevent an emergency death penalty appeal filing after 5PM, the Court of Criminal Appeals has instituted what they say will be a fail-safe email system. ...
The e-mail system will be a stop-gap procedure before the development and implementation of a more wide-ranging electronic case-filing system due for all Texas appeals courts. That system is scheduled for operation in early 2010.
Ya know, if the State is going to execute someone, let's at least follow the law and procedures, and add a dash of common sense and humanity into the equation, including the thought "well SCOTUS is looking at this, why don't we wait the extra 20 minutes to allow the filing of the last minute appeal, and we can execute him later"?We are supposed to be the good guys, y'all.