Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Examiner's objections due soon in Sharon Keller removal proceedings

Now that Judge David Berchelmann has issued his findings of fact in Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller's removal proceedings before the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, what happens now? What should happen?

Some media outlets, egged on by Judge Keller's attorney, portrayed Judge Berechelmann's findings as essentially putting to rest allegations against Judge Keller. That was premature. The Judge was only empowered to make recommendations to the Commission, which may still decide whether to dismiss the charges, reprimand Judge Keller, or recommend her removal to the Texas Supreme Court.

So what happens next? According to the Commission's removal procedures (pdf), the Commission's examiner (the equivalent of the prosecutor in the case) may file objections to the Special Master's report within 15 days, which by my count would be Thursday, February 4 (though the examiner is also allowed to request an extension).

This will be a critical moment in the drama. If the examiner files objections to the Special Master's findings - and I can think of plenty! - the the SCJC will hold its own hearing. Otherwise:
If no statement of objections to the report of the special master is filed within the time provided, the findings of the special master may be deemed as agreed to, and the Commission may adopt them without a hearing. If a statement of objections is filed, or if the Commission in the absence of such statement proposes to modify or reject the findings of the special master, the Commission shall give the judge and the examiner an opportunity to be heard orally before the Commission, and written notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be sent to the judge at least ten days prior thereto.
The biggest, outstanding objection to the Special Master's report surely is his failure to mention damning evidence presented contradicting Judge Keller's claim that her conversation with the court clerk regarding the Michael Richards case was of an "administrative" nature. She'd claimed contrarily in federal court that they were judicial decisions (in order to claim she deserved "absolute immunity" for what happened). Apparently on this question Judge Keller tells whatever court she's in whatever they need to hear to let her off the hook, even if overall her statements contradict themselves.

That's pretty darn objectionable, in my book, and I hope the examiner's staff is busy preparing a a detailed response.

The examiner should also object to Judge Berchelmann's rhetorical chicanery in arguing that Judge Keller violated no "unwritten rules," distinguishing such from an "oral tradition" that the Special Master acknowledges she failed to follow.

In relation to the specific "charges" against the judge, a recurring theme was that Judge Keller's conduct was "willful or persistent." Certainly that much can't be argued! Even Judge Berchelmann found Judge Keller's impudent claim that she would do nothing differently implausible, saying her statement "cannot be true."

In any event, until we see the examiner's response - which should be filed by Thursday if he doesn't request an extension - we've only seen one of the two important documents that will be presented to the Commission if removal proceedings go forward.

If the examiner issues a response - which seems clearly warranted given the Special Master's overt omission of evidence - the Commission then would set a hearing date at some point, though it could order more evidence to be gathered or even hold a fact finding hearing itself (a "hearing for the taking of additional evidence").

By the end of the week, we'll know a lot more about where this case is going, when it might end, and how.

UPDATE: Chuck Lindell at the Austin Statesman reports that both the examiner and Judge Keller's attorney have been granted an extension until Feb. 17. That lets us know that the examiner will indeed file objections to the findings of fact, and that the Commission on Judicial Conduct will hold a public hearing to air the charges.


Anonymous said...

Grits, I think the reason no one is commenting on this thread is that everyone, except you, thinks the Berechelmann report pretty well sums it up and constitutes the end of the line for the Keller "witch hunt." Plus the fact that your logic is so exceedingly tenuous here, that no one has a clue what you're talking about. Give it a rest, Man. This "Keller obsession" that you have going can't be healthy for ya! Do some yoga or something! Chill out!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:23,

The only thing the Berechelmann report puts to rest is any doubt that in Texas they will do whatever dance is necessary to cover their hind ends. It was never a witch hunt and may I point out that you have mistaken your consonants.

Perhaps you should consider that your advise to “chill out” in the face of such actions is one of the many reasons why so many look upon Texas with such ill favor and why it's been regularly considered not only the laughing stock of the civilized world but unfit for intelligent, human habitation.

doran said...

Grits, thanks for staying on this and keeping the rest of us up to date on procedural matters. I share your hope for some objections to be filed to Judge Berchelmann's work.

Anonymous said...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Anonymous said...

Killer Keller aint going anywhere!

Hook Em Horns said...

Anonymous said...

so many look upon Texas with such ill favor and why it's been regularly considered not only the laughing stock of the civilized world but unfit for intelligent, human habitation.

2/02/2010 05:59:00
This is, unfortunately, TRUE. One only needs to live here for awhile or begin studying other states to truly understand just exactly how ass-backward this state truly is.

You can say whatever you want, tell me to get the hell out, whetever, but nothing changes the facts that Texas is one fucked up state!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

so many look upon Texas with such ill favor and why it's been regularly considered not only the laughing stock of the civilized world but unfit for intelligent, human habitation.

2/02/2010 05:59:00
This is, unfortunately, TRUE. One only needs to live here for awhile or begin studying other states to truly understand just exactly how ass-backward this state truly is.

You can say whatever you want, tell me to get the hell out, whetever, but nothing changes the facts that Texas is one fucked up state!

2/02/2010 09:19:00 PM"

I have to agree. I was born in Texas and lived there all of my 41 years until I moved to another state last summer. I am truly ashamed of my home state. Living somewhere else for a little while makes you realize how bad things in Texas really are.

Anonymous said...

Things are so screwed up here that Texas is one of the two fastest growing states.


Anonymous said...

"Things are so screwed up here that Texas is one of the two fastest growing states."

All that says is that things are slightly better in Texas than in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm kind of proud of Texas and the fact that we're tough on crime! We believe in the death penalty, and we actually USE it! If you don't like the way the criminal justice system works in Texas, then DON'T SCREW UP! Don't hand around thugs and druggies and allow yourself to be in a position where you might wrongly become suspected of doing something criminal. Like my dear ol' grandaddy used to say, "if you lay down with the dogs, you're going to get some fleas on you!" I'm proud of the fact that we have a conservative governor and conservative judges. Texas has a vibrant economy while other states are suffering through this terrible recession. We have a pro-business climate where investors are still not afraid to take chances on growth and expansion. And people, by and large, still feel safe in this state. That's because we're not afraid to lock people up and remove the "bad apples" from society. For all of you on this thread bashing Texas and talking about how ashamed you are of this state, why don't you leave? I hear the house prices are really reasonable now in Detroit!

Anonymous said...

Well Anon 8:42,
Being proud of a place is a good thing. Texas has some very lovely attributes. It also has some very unlovely ones. Personally, I was a bit revolted at the number of homes I have visited in which one cannot drink the water and rely on bottled water for cooking and drinking because of the oily residue that tends to float to the top of your glass or leaves your skin feeling somewhat “odd” after you bathe. Air quality? Let's not go there.

Tough on crime a good thing? Perhaps if one puts jailing the guilty on credible evidence for reasonable amounts of time as the priority, but that doesn't seem to really be an issue in Texas.
Given the numbers of those in the system there, I do believe one would be hard pressed to find many families who don't have at least one member who has been arrested, convicted or incarcerated at some point. Avoiding those fleas must really be a difficult accomplishment.

For a state with such a vibrant economy, it has never ceased to shock me how many people live in poverty there. On several trips through the state I was charmed by the numbers of run down shacks dotting the countryside until I realized that there were people living in those dilapidated, falling down homes. As of 2008, Texas had the fifth highest poverty rate in the country. I would suggest you get out more and open your eyes.

As for being pro business, it has come at a high cost to both the environment as well as the people of the state. Toxic dumps, bad drinking water, Port Arthur has the lovely nickname of Cancer Alley......shall I continue? Caner and obesity rates? Where the state ranks on the overall healthcare rating? As for safe, well you may not have made the top ten of the states safety rating for the worst, but you did rank 15th in the top twenty. Perhaps not so safe after all and “feeling” safe is just another of many illusions.

Your attitude of “if you don't like it leave” is one of the major problems along with sticking your head in the sand about reality. How about, if we don't like it, we should change it....to something infinitely better. Texas itself is pretty country with great potential. It's people like you, so stuck in what you want to believe over reality that really make it what it is. The laughing stock of the civilized world and unfit for intelligent, human habitation.

I'll stand by my comments and back them up. Texas is home to a great number of family and loved ones and if just for their sake, I want to see it become what it could be, a truly great place, not what it is.

Anonymous said...

And just for the record, in case you have forgotten. Despite the stupidity of your conservative governor, aka. “The Hair” and your slogan of the “whole other country” thing, Texas is still a part of this country and as such a concern of every citizen in it. When Texas does something so incredibly stupid or embarrassing, it is the concern of us all as it does reflect poorly on those of us who do occasionally get out into the world and have to deal with the fallout over the crap you all dump. Not to mention that the people who live with your policies are also American citizens and human beings who deserve better. You may be proud of your insular living, the blindness to the poverty and pollution, the ignorance and prejudice, the numbers of those incarcerated and the way your legal system fights to keep even the innocent in prison for as long as possible because they can't admit they have made mistakes and the numbers of lives you snuff out every year, but the reality is that while the world looks at you with horror, the rest of us Americans are just plain ashamed of what you call your Texas Pride.

Pride goeth before a fall.....you're just too blind to realize you've already fallen and it's going to be a very, very long drop before you go splat.

TDCJ EX said...

Anon 11:04 and 11 :28

That was very well stated . Those words should be kept and used when ever a troll makes ignorant remark . Unfortunately the negative listed by Anon11:04 and11: 28 far out weigh the good and great potential good that Texas has. Though that can and i inevitably will change as society continues to change . A frightening thought to a few who cling to a past that is best left in the past . One that should never be repeated .

Taking pride in a justice system that willingly executes the innocent and will go to any lengths to keep the innocent and unjustly convicted incarcerated or execute them is not something to take pride in .A justice system that brutalizes and abuses the citizens it is meant to serve is not a point of pride it is a shame and disgrace.

Telling those who want to change these wrongs to leave leave is morally bankrupt. Who will watch the watchers who will keep you safe when the state is the criminal ? There is a saying about giving up freedom for a false feeling of safety and those who d, have neither freedom or safety . Think about that .

GOOD DAD said...

In the 221st State District Court of Montgomery Co, TX, Judge Suzanne Stovall massacred me in a 3¼ year custody case for my, now, 6½ y/o daughter.
Convicted child molesters have more access to their children than I do.
Calls, letters, & gifts are intercepted, & I have no visitation.
The mother secreted her 2mo & 14mo babies, 1200 miles from their father, & for 15½ years, her family prevented all contact.
The mother’s 18 year history/pattern of hostility, alienation, & medical mistreatment was well documented to evaluating psychologist Dr Edward G Silverman, therapist Theresa Burbank, ad litem Lynn T Coleman, the attorneys, et.al.
Despite months of exams & x-rays by pediatricians & specialists, for a real & progressing condition, & prescribing increasingly invasive treatment, the mother, Edward G Silverman, Theresa Burbank, Lynn Coleman, Elaine Baggerley of CPS, & Judge Suzanne Stovall, refused to believe the diagnosis of the medical professionals & necessity for treatment.
Even after receiving the medical records & speaking with the medical professionals, they persisted in their false beliefs despite the invalidating evidence, continuing to Aid & Abet Injury to a Child.
A specialist repeatedly requested the mother & Lynn Coleman, attend the appointments, but they refused.
Even with the mother’s sworn statements of medically abusing/neglecting our daughter & with the doctors corroborating records of her mistreatment, Judge Suzanne Stovall took my daughter from me & placed her into the mother’s sole custody.
Symptoms persisted, but her condition is withheld.
Since infancy, the mother has secreted our daughter to doctors, & medically mistreated her.
From 2006 to 2008, the mother yo-yoed our daughter on steroids.
She has neglected her dental care.
The mother has a history & pattern of medically mistreating her other children with steroids, psychiatric drugs, numerous prescription & OTC medicines, & they have had significant dental issues due to her neglect.
Judge Suzanne Stovall signed a Final Decree to remove me from my daughter, without a trial, without my signature, without my lawyer's signature, & without compelling the mother’s (plaintiff) discovery.
Despite 3 years of Hearings, Rule 11’s, hundreds of emails/letters/conversations, Judge Suzanne Stovall refused to compel the mother’s discovery, yet granted years of continuances because her discovery was incomplete; including continuing a preferentially set trial.
All knew how devastating her discovery would be & Judge Suzanne Stovall refused to compel.
Judge Suzanne Stovall inconsistently ruled on motions, laws, or rules to favor the mother.
My lawyers complained that she favored the mother.
Judge Suzanne Stovall ignored the overwhelming certified/certifiable evidence of violence/hostility/aggression/abuse by the mother, her family, & her friends.
Judge Suzanne Stovall disregarded 3+ years & 300+ exhibited provable charges of Contempt against the mother, including failure to pay child support, interfering with child custody, & worse.
It required my lawyer’s written threat of a Writ of Habeas Corpus for the mother to surrender our daughter to me.
I paid the jury fee, & for 3 years, pleaded in vain for a trial or in some way to present a case.
Judge Suzanne Stovall punished me with over 20% plus $100, monthly child support.
CISD records, depositions, sworn statements, & other

Certified/Certifiable evidence revealed a home with an AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT FELON, wrist CUTTING, daily VIOLENCE, 15y/o runaway, destruction, criminals, drug abuse (METH, COCAINE, XANAX, OXYCOTIN, etc), many police visits & a SEARCH WARRANT confiscated drug paraphernalia, probation violations, multiple sex partners, suspensions for drugs & violence, burglary, vandalism, shootings, disease, fighting, screaming, profanity, pornography (incl BEASTIALITY)

Anonymous said...

For all you who are convinced Texas is such a terrible place...Guess that explains why this state's population is growing faster than any other state in the country. A terrible, terrible place, this Lone Star State! As for our inhumane and intolerant criminal justice system, I guess that explains why Republicans hold EVERY statewide elected office in this state and have for the last 10 or 12 years; and likely will continue to do so after the upcoming November elections. Obviously, the majority of people in Texas are REALLY dissatisfied with the status quo! It must be really difficult being a liberal in this state while being surrounded by so many narrow minded, vengeful, pro-law and order Republicans. God Bless Texas!

Anonymous said...

I have only recently been brought up to date in re the KELLER decision by Judge BERCHELMANN. That someone actulaly died because of KELLER's call to close the office....versus the attorneys for the death row inmate...(who may have been at fault for not seeking another judge to file the [brief] with) ...versus CHERYL JOHNSON's duties being usurped either because: ...1) Edward Marty failed to contact the "duty judge" due from "specific habit of referring with KELLER"... or that "he was told by KELLER to call me at home for anything [special] today"... and/or 2) KELLER is the "be all" and "end all" showstopper for the court anyhow.

Nevertheless...the point remains the same in contrast to ALL criminal appellants seeking relief. THERE SHOULD BE A WAY TO BE HEARD WHEN THE LAW IS CLEAR. Here, the WHOLE PANEL was aware of the U.S. SUPREME Court's decision. The appeal was expected. For whatever reason, it is highly common to believe that KELLER knew she was a GOD when she replied "No" (as to staying open for a few more minutes).
KELLER'S refusal was deliverate and seemingly calculated ...Her track record offers that she is not sympathetic to issues for criminal appellants. A simple review of some of her antics over the years, taken together with this reveals that she may continue to disregard the possibilities that... jurors can err in teir decisions at the trial level.

That no matter HOW "technical" an error is for a criminal appellant, there is usually some LAW which supports the ground. Well, if KELLEr wishes to REFUSE to acknowledge the existence of TECHNICAL ERRORS for a criminal appellant...(DEATH Row or otherwise) then her TECHNICAL [Reason] for Refusing to keep it open past 5pm should too be DISREGARDED AS ample justifications.

She DENIES appeals dialy when "TECHNICIAL ERRORS" OR TECHNICIAL VIOLATIONS OF law" is clearly stated. So WHY should her "TEHCNICAL JUSTIFICATION" be accepted, as she consistently refuses to acknowledge others' TECHNICALITIES??
What kind of statement is being made when our judges can avoid the wrath of LAWS, RULES, or Codes of Conduct aid Canons of Law applications... while they themselves interpret the [same] in a fashion which serves to DENY "technical" RELIEF to a criminal appellant??????-

Are our judges above the LAW??

How long will it take for her to DENY lawful relief on antother TECHNICALITY, while she avoided removal on a "technical response"??

Anonymous said...

hey hey ho ho killer keller has got to go