Sunday, March 01, 2009

Justice Center Chair Facing Removal in Texas CCA

I don't know how to describe this but, just the facts, sir. Judge Keller, Honorable Sharon Keller, Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the supreme criminal court) is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Justice Center which is the umbrella organization controlling the Reentry Policy Council noted in my last post. I just happened to stumble upon this fact today while reviewing the website out of an abundance of curiosity.

Unfortunately, the Judge is now facing a removal proceeding and trial (estimated to cost $250,000 dollars of your taxpayer money) thanks to the State Commission on Judicial Proceedings. Just one more reason to stop electing judges is this article about the fee, in which her lawyer, Chip Babcock, says they'd defend her for a buck, but are prohibited by law for giving a discount on legal fees to a judge as it would amount to an illegal political contribution! The buck in question is the amount the lawyer hired by the Commission is set to receive for prosecuting the case against Keller.

Allegations state that Judge Keller refused to follow written procedures in the Richardson execution causing the lawyer's request for stay based upon the USSC grant in Baze to be rejected. It is alleged she knew the lawyers wanted to file the request but could not get it to Court by the five pm close and refused to allow papers to be filed late. I might have added, stupidly and callously refused, but that would just be my spin on it. We'll just have to see what kind of sanction, if any, is appropriate for this kind of behavior by our supreme court justices.

All major Texas newspapers, including Texas Monthly have decried Keller's hastening of the execution of Richardson. To a man, all have called for Keller's removal.

I wonder how will this affect the future of the reentry movement?

The Justice Center's Board provides guidance on the Center's priorities and is comprised of senior level state officials who shape criminal justice policy.

Grits has this post on it.

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