Friday, February 19, 2010

Sex Parte Redux: SCOTUS should "remedy appalling acts by a judge and officer of the court" in Charles Hood case, since Texas CCA won't

Bully for the Constitution Project and the former federal judges and other officials who signed an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court of the United States hear the Charles Dean Hood case, in which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a habeas petition without giving a reason after the trial judge and prosecutor lied about or concealed an affair that occurred before and possibly during the trial. Reports the Dallas News Crime Blog:

A former governor, a former district attorney, a former U.S. attorney from North Texas, and the former director of the FBI are among a group of 21 lawyers who have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a controversial Texas death penalty case.

The group, which was organized by the Constitution Project, is asking the court to hear the case of Charles Dean Hood, who was sentenced to death for killing two people in Collin County in 1989. Hood's case has garnered national attention not for the horrific crime, but because the prosecutor in the case had an intimate relationoship with the judge.

See the Constitution Project's press release. According to the petition, "Amici are deeply concerned that, if the judgment [by the Texas CCA] is allowed to stand, the Due Process Clause’s guarantee of fundamental fairness—especially in death penalty cases— will be imperiled, and public confidence in the courts will suffer."

The brief asserts that "the Due Process Clause forbids a trial judge from presiding over a criminal proceeding in the circumstances presented here." SCOTUS should intervene, they said, because it "has an extraordinarily strong interest in preserving the reputation of the judiciary—in particular affirming the courts’ willingness to recognize and remedy appalling acts by a judge and officer of the court that violate fundamental fairness."

It's worth mentioning that all but one of the sitting members of the Texas CCA served on Texas' high criminal court with the judge in question - Verla Sue Holland - so there's an appearance that they declined to correct this obvious error out of an excess of collegial deference (read: cronyism). Only three CCA judges - Cochran, Price, and Holcomb - dissented to that embarrassing ruling. (Good for them, btw - I'm sure there was pressure to do otherwise.) So whether or not SCOTUS reviews the case, the majority of judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have already affirmed their un-willingness to "recognize and remedy appalling acts by a judge and officer of the court that violate fundamental fairness."

This is perhaps an even more embarrassing, despicable spectacle than Presiding Judge Sharon Keller's defiant insistence that she'd repeat her behavior from the "We close at 5" imbroglio. Keller, at least, is just one vote on the court. But here, five others joined her in shirking their responsibilities to protect their ex-colleague, and not on the spur of the moment, as in Keller's infamous decision that got her into trouble, but in a deliberative setting when they had full power to right the wrong.

One bad apple could perhaps be overlooked, but in this case the barrel's spoiled. Hopefully SCOTUS will take the case and clean up the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' mess, again.

See related Grits coverage:

16 comments:

Faceless Man said...

I hope this case doesn't lose any steam. Hood may very well be guilty as sin but, the scales need balancing.

What I would give to be a fly on those walls.

Anonymous said...

Oh, brother! Only the brain dead believe Hood is not guilty.

Robbie C said...

The judge and prosecutor could have been having sex on the bench during the trial in front of the bailiff, jury, and court report and it wouldn't change one very basic fact:

Hood is unequivocally guilty of murdering Ron Goldman and Traci Lynn Wallace.

I've met Ron's son. I've opened up my home to Traci's sister on one of her many visits to Texas to see that justice is served on this murdering POS.

Justice will be served once Hood is dead.

TDCJ EX said...

The issue is not about Hoods innocence or guilt . It is weather Hoods rights all of us enjoy through the Sixth amendment were violated. That should not be hard to understand. It is not any oen but the judge and prosecutor fault if Hood is granted stay and more than likely a new trail .
All the talk about his probable guilt is not going to change the fact that he did not receive fair trail .
He also has a few other claims but that is for another day .

If there is any parties to be angry at they are Verla Sue Holland and Tom O'Connell. If someone has a problem they should direct their anger at those two and The TX CCA. Not a blogger not a person who post here none of us were involved in this. It will also open the door for more cases to be challenged cast doubt on even more convictions in TX that will then cost more to investigated and litigate . Adjudicate it right the first time and this wont happen . They all know the law or should .Though that might be good in the end and force the state to play fair and by the rules.

In their selfish , arrogant behavior they have violated the Constitution . Once again madeTexas look foolish and waste a lot of state funds.

Endless ranting , cyber bulling and verbal abuse on the internet is not going to change that ., if people are angry over him not getting executed as demanded . They should take it up with the judge and prosecute who were having a affair .

No one in their right mind would want to be a defendant in any trial civil or criminal where the prosecuting attorney and judge were engaged in a illicit sexual relationship .

The idea that people will trash the Constitution that protects all of us to exact revenge is more troubling than Hood getting a new trail . One that will cost millions of tax dollars when all is said and done hood could well end up never getting executed even if he gets a new trial and is once again sentenced to death if it is sought All that money could be better spent elsewhere . This could have been have all been avoided had one of the parties having a affair rescued themselves.

The CCA's s disgraceful ruling shows it is more interested in serving itself than the people it of Texas . Some of kill em all and let god sort em out crowd might want to think very carefully as they could well be before a judge like Keller and company Now that would be poetic justice .

I see the Urban Grounds guy has popped up for our entertainment .

yvette99 said...

Some people miss the point, all those bleeding hearts are fighting for everyones rights. When judges and prosecutors decide to take the law into their own hands and make their own rules that's bad,....but hey you have the whole buddy club joining in. All these judges need sending to the nearest retirement home a.s.a.p. No one is getting justice when this sort of corruption gets swept under the rug..What rules will they abuse and cover-up next?

Anonymous said...

Again, oh brother! Faceless man wrote that: "Hood may very well be guilty as sin..." I and Robbie C. responded that he was unequivocally guilty.

You two are the ones who missed the point.

Also, you might be slightly entertaining if every comment you posted wasn't book length, redundant and whiny.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the last paragraph was directed towards the whiny one, tdcj ex.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:57: Every comment you make begins with "Oh brother!" and you accuse others of being "whiny"? Huh ... whining about whining. An interesting rhetorical choice.

Also, the vast majority of guilty murderers in Texas don't get the death penalty - around 99%. But the chance of a different sentencing phase outcome are significant. Today's juries give out death sentences at much lower rates than when Hood was convicted.

Finally as TDCJ Ex said, if you don't like this issue being raised, there are only two people to blame: Judge Holland and her DA paramour. Why not direct your ire where it's most appropriately vented - at the public officials who engaged in misconduct?

Anonymous said...

Miisconduct in a capital murder case? Some of think the misconduct was when the person was murdered.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's absolutely right, 5:30. That's why it's important that the judge and prosecutor aren't sleeping together when a murderer goes to trial, so the punishment juries give out actually sticks.

You see, we have these things called courts and there's this document called the Constitution that outlines defendant's rights, which include judges presiding over their trial who aren't engaging in pillow talk with the prosecutor while they're performing what's arguably their most important function as public servants.

Put the blame where it lies: If the judge and prosecutor hadn't been such slimeballs and lied about or concealed the affair instead of recusing themselves, Hood would likely have been executed by now. Nobody else is to blame.

Anonymous said...

"Huh ... whining about whining. An interesting rhetorical choice."

No, it's rebutting misstatements and a personal attack by your #1 bozo, tdcj-ex. And since it bugs you, Oh brother!

"Also, the vast majority of guilty murderers in Texas don't get the death penalty - around 99%."

Only in your wildest wet dreams would Hood not be resentenced to death -- multiple murder plus history of rape. He's a charmer!

"Finally as TDCJ Ex said, if you don't like this issue being raised..."

Misstating facts is not raising an issue. Hood is guilty. Implying he is not is b.s.

"Why not direct your ire where it's most appropriately vented - at the public officials who engaged in misconduct?"

Why not direct your ire at those who post factually untrue comments or make preemptive insults? Oh, you can't since you are one of those people.

And be honest, if Holland and Connor had not been involved and Hood was executed, you would still whine about his execution.

TDCJEX said...

Anon 9:43 , Is that you Dudley or your JFA syncophants ?

What are you talking about where did any one imply Hood is not guilty ? How do you know what any one else will or will not think or want are you clairvoyant ? That is irrational not anywhere close reality .

Back to reality, more than likely had Hood received a fair trail and run out of appeals and executed few of you have would noticed . In fact I doubt his execution would have made the news out side of media local to TX if that .How many executions are headline items in most media now any ways?


More reality
One can think he is guilty and still think he got a unfair trail they are not mutually exclusive . Some one can also be against the death penalty and still think he is guilty and somehow removed from society . Your simply are angry because Hood though by random chance got caught up in this . Eventually some one was going to find out about their affair It just happened that it was a death Penalty case due that thing called random chance. Now all of cases that were tried while those two were engaged in their illicit affair are going to rightfully be called into question . They are to blame no one else . They are now going the state a lot money due to their behavior no one else . That should not be difficult to grasp and that people are not happy about them should not be difficult understand .

More reality
The fact is had the judge and DA not been having a affair this would not now be taking place go complain to them . Why are people who want ethical and honest government officials to blame for this problem? If anything If we had our way this conversation would not be taking place. Hood would have been probably tried and sentenced few would know who is or was. Or care for that matter. Oh the irony

Write a letter to your senators and representatives both state and federal complaining about the behavior of the judge and DA. Asking they be held to a high standard so justice is properly and equitably served . Do you ? Are you involved in anything other than posting on the internet ?

The only person making insults is you .

Making increasingly irrational and angry posts on the internet is not gojng change anything . It might however catch up with you eventually . In the light of recent events where irrational angry hate fueled rants on the internet ended in tragedy it is good way to draw the attention of law enforcement to you . Just a thought .

Gritsforbreakfast said...

9:43, you don't know me and I don't know you, but your assumptions about my views are simply mistaken - caricatures you've concocted in your head which are not representative of anything I've written. If you insist otherwise, please quote back my statements you think are "factually untrue" - things I've actually written, not just your own misrepresentation detached from reality. So far, you're just ranting free-form without any identifiable referent.

Otherwise, since your substance-free anonymous whining misrepresents my positions here, I feel no need to rebut you. Because you've provided only insults free of argument - and of course since you're too cowardly (or embarrassed by your own vapidity) to attach your name to your opinions - you're discrediting yourself and that saves the rest of us the trouble of responding. Thanks for that. It's a time saver.

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