Monday, May 10, 2010

Former capital litigator Bob Walt passes away

A reader lets me know via email that:

Regardless of your opinion of the Texas death penalty, one of the prime movers in the development of Capital punishment in Texas died on Friday. Anyone who has been involved for more than 10 years in Capital litigation in Texas can testify as to Bob’s contribution towards establishing the current system of Capital punishment.

He was also the nephew of the legendary Marine hero, General Lew Walt.

He was a fantastic and talented attorney, as well as being one hell of a nice guy.

You might want to open this up.

And so we do. Said a brief obituary in the Statesman:

Former assistant state attorney general Bob Walt, who once headed the state's capital litigation division, died Friday of cancer. He was 61.

Walt, who also worked as a lawyer at the Dallas County district attorney's office and the Texas Department of Insurance, was married to Kathy Walt, a longtime aide to Gov. Rick Perry.

Walt gave up the ghost after an extended battle with cancer, according to Jason Embry. His contributions to death penalty jurisprudence stemmed from his stint as assistant attorney general under Jim Mattox and Dan Morales handling capital litigation. That position frequently put him in the national spotlight, particularly during the Karla Faye Tucker case and on the losing end of the Johnny Paul Penry litigation, in which the US Supreme Court required special jury instructions before allowing the execution of the mentally retarded - a setback that forced resentencing of numerous capital defendants and whose impact reverberates to this day. (Years later, SCOTUS outright banned execution of the mentally retarded.)

My condolences go out to the family.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words about my brother, Bob. Words really can be comforting and yours were.
Kathryn Hall

Anonymous said...

Bob was one of the smartest men you'll ever be blessed with knowing. The only thing larger than his wealth of knowledge was the size of his heart. He was a man that others looked up to in both his personal & professional life. Most of all, I was honored to call him my parent.