Monday, February 23, 2009

Keller must pay for her own lawyer on judicial misconduct charges

The Houston Chronicle's Clay Robison says the Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge, Sharon Keller, may have to dig into her own pocket to defend against charges from the Judicial Conduct Commission:

I doubt that many people will shed tears, but Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller may have to pay her own legal expenses to defend herself against charges she improperly shut the door on a condemned inmate's last-gasp appeal.

The judicial misconduct charges brought against Keller last week by the Commission on Judicial Conduct could result in her removal from office and, if she fights them, many thousands of dollars in legal bills.

Officeholders often can use political funds to pay lawyers. But Keller, according to a filing last month with the Texas Ethics Commission, has no money in her political account. State law also prohibits Keller, who won't be up for reelection until 2012, from raising any political money before June 2011. And any donation of legal services could be construed as an illegal political contribution.

The judge's attorney, Chip Babcock, has asked the judicial conduct commission to pay her legal expenses.

If the answer is no, will Keller fight, or resign?

Meanwhile, perhaps in reaction to Keller's predicament or, more likely, in reaction to Democratic judicial victories in Houston, Robison reports that "Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has filed a bill to ban straight ticket voting only in judicial races."

In a Grits for Breakfast reader poll last week, among 368 respondents, 50% said Judge Keller should be impeached by the Legislature and removed from office. Another 23% believed she should be disbarred, while 9% thought a public reprimand was punishment enough.


Anonymous said...

Too bad Fitzgerald does not! We are minus an officer because of his foolishness!

Anonymous said...

So 73% of Grits readers are knee- jerk, anti-death penalty flaming libs. Big surprise there. I wonder what the college graduation rate is among that 73%?

Anonymous said...


I thought us "liberal elitists" had a higher rate of education (and literacy...) than you Bible-thumping "conservatives"...

Anonymous said...

If Judge Shelton could accept a gift of discounted attorney's fees, why couldn't Keller?

(Let's ignore Shelton's failure to report the discount as a gift...)

Anonymous said...

To you people who think none of us who think Sharon Keller should be removed from the bench have no education, I beg to differ with you.

I for one have a Master's Degree and I work each and every day in the Medical Field.

Do not attach your labels to those of us you do not know, we have our right to express our opinions whether we have degrees are not!!

Anonymous said...

The Statesman is reporting that Judge Keller has applied for, and was granted, an extension of time to respond to these charges.

I guess she filed that request before 5pm.