Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Judge Mary Roman's re-election ensures an "absence of an impartial judge on the bench"

When San Antonio District Judge Mary Roman presides over a criminal case, as the Fourth Court of Appeals recently put it when overturning a death sentence issued by her court, defendants may suffer from the "absence of an impartial judge on the bench."

That's the language they used recently in overturning a death sentence obtained in her court, declaring her behavior had "infected the integrity of the trial process." Reported the Express News:

Democratic primary foe Anthony Zamora cited the 4th Court ruling as the reason he ran against Roman, and the judge countered that relying on the reversal was premature because it was on appeal.

Democratic voters sided with Roman, who does not have a Republican opponent in November.

But it is no longer premature to cite the 4th Court's reversal.

Death penalty cases get a lot of additional scrutiny, but my sources around the courthouse tell me this isn't the only instance where, in Judge Roman's court, there's frequently been an
"absence of an impartial judge on the bench" that “infected the integrity of the trial process," not to mention many other judicial functions.

Unfortunately, with no GOP opponent in November, there's little to be done. As the Express News delcared, "
Citizens can only hope that she shows a new dedication to professional standards in the future." How frustrating! Roman really shouldn't be on the bench after what amounts to a no-confidence vote by the 4th Court of Appeals and the CCA.


Anonymous said...

Interesting bit of history:

This begs the question to those who condone or oppose the CPS actions in Texas:

Was that an acceptable government action? If not, how can it be now?
(and, of course, vice versa!)

Anonymous said...

The courts of appeals never review death penalty appeals.
TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 37.071(h) ("The judgment of conviction and sentence of death shall be subject to automatic review by the Court of Criminal Appeals.").

Capital murder appeals only go to a court of appeals when there was no death penalty imposed

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Huh. That's confusing, 12:18. The Express News piece declared specifically referenced "a 4th Court of Appeals decision reversing the capital murder conviction of Asel Abdygapparova."

Also, the docket sheet listed online specifically mentions a 4th Court opinion last October in which the case was "reversed and remanded." IANAL and I can't explain the discrepancy.

Anonymous said...

"Capital murder conviction" does not mean "death sentence.

12.31. Capital Felony:

"(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole or by death. An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state does not seek the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole.")

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Okay. In any event, the 4th Circuit's decision, according to the Express News, takes the death penalty off the table for the retrial.

Anonymous said...

The direct appeal on capital murder cases where the sentence is death go directly to the Court of Criminal Appeals. On cases where the death penalty is waived or the jury returns a senence of life, the direct appeal is to the intermediate court of appeals.

Anonymous said...

Judge Roman is getting what she deserves - bad press!!! Lets all hope she changes her ways and plays fair! Somehow, I dont think the old girl has it in her to change her ways.

Anonymous said...

Point of clarification: the Fourth Court revieiwed the case because the jury returned a life sentence, having found there to have been mitigation. During the trial in which Roman was found to have have shown judical bias, death was still before the jury--it is accruate to say that Roman was acting this way in a death penalty case because Abdygapparova was ONLY spared death on the jury's ruling. And, yes, death is off the table for her retrial which will not be before Judge Roman.