Sunday, March 08, 2009

"The Punisher" starring... Sharon Keller

Sharon Keller made waves recently by denying "lawyers for a man facing execution... extra time to file a last-minute appeal" according to the New York Times. It is an apparently common practice to provide such a service to the defense in a capital offense. Instead she shut down at 5PM sharp, allowing the state to execute the defendant. That on its face is probably a debatable practice, but one which the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct decided was worthy of beginning proceedings which could bring about the judge's removal.

Even more amazing was her refusal in 1998 to open a new trial for "a mentally disabled man who was convicted of rape and murder, even though DNA tests after his trial showed that it was not his semen in the victim", as noted by the Kansas City Star. Judge Keller gives an interesting argument supporting the 1998 decision here, but it should be noted then governor George W. Bush pardoned the defendant, Roy Criner, and Bush had no love for pardons then or later as President.