If accurate, and it sounds pretty reasonable to me, it appears the Court of Criminal Appeals these days has quite a bit of behind-the-scenes drama going on regarding Judge Keller's looming fate, perhaps relieved only slightly by the delay granted in her case until March 24.
A source closely connected with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals told Capitol Annex that several of the justices on the state’s highest criminal court want Presiding Justice Sharon Keller to resign in order to halt proceedings brought by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The proceedings would force the justices to testify on activities surrounding the execution of death row inmate Micahel Richard.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told Capitol Annex that several justices are not eager to take part in a trial proceeding as part of the Commission on Judicial Conduct complaint against Keller because it would result in further revealing the content of private meetings and closed door activities–many of which were revealed in the publicly distributed notice of formal proceedings, much to the chagrin of judges and longtime court employees. Each of the court’s other eight justices would most likely be called as witnesses. Without question, Justice Cheryl Johnson would be a key witness for the TCJC.
According to the [source], the justices are fearful that a public trial for Keller could expose the court to more significant media scrutiny, could irreparably damage relations between the justices necessary for the court to function properly, and could hurt the justices politically during a time when Democrats have a better than average shot at capturing statewide offices. The source advised that at least one justice is fearful that some or all of the Court of Criminal Appeals Justices could be subject to similar judicial conduct complaints as the one now facing Keller simply because the other justices did nothing to stop Keller and did not more closely examine Keller’s actions, the source said. Another justice is reportedly worried that increased publicity could force U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation into whether or not Michael Richard’s’ civil rights were violated–further exposing the court and the justices to a level of public examination they are unaccustomed to.
Reading this account, Judge Keller's travails take on a bit of a soap-opera quality, whereas from the outside it all looks more like a circus.
RELATED: More incentive to resign instead of fight: Keller's legal team will reportedly cost several hundred thousand dollars.