September 12, 2008
The DA that did the judge

I have not been following the Charles Dean Hood case, in which the presiding judge and the District Attorney have finally admitted under oath that they had a long-term sexual affair - you can get some background here, or just Google around. But I would like to point out this awesome rant that Evan Smith has on it from a correspondent of Hood's.

Well, good people of Texas, I hope you like having people from the rest of the country laugh at you, because they're going to be whooping it up in the next few days. Yes, it turns out that Judge Verla Sue Holland, who presided over the 1990 capital murder trial of Charles Dean Hood, was indeed sleeping with D.A. Tom O'Connell while the case was going on (and for some time before and after). They admitted it at a court hearing today and yesterday in Collin County; by the end of the day the CCA had stayed Hood's execution (his sixth stay). Ah, Texas justice: adjudication before fornication. Where habeas corpus REALLY means show me the body. The state where it's not only okay for your lawyer to fall asleep on you in a death penalty case, it's okay for your judge and your prosecutor to sleep together! Ha ha ha ha! Apres le petit morte, le grande morte! Here come da judge! Bwa ha ha ha!

People around the Collin County courthouse have known about the affair for years -- yet no one, and in particular neither of the two lovers, came forward and did anything about it. Hood's attorneys first found people who talked anonymously about the affair back in 1995, but they couldn't get anything firm enough to attack the conviction with. Salon published a story in 2005 naming a couple of sources for the affair as well as including a couple of anonymous sources. And this past June Hood's attorneys found a former assistant district attorney, who said the affair was "common knowledge" around the courthouse back then. Still, the CCA wouldn't stay Hood's execution, which was set for June 17. He survived that execution only because his lawyers kept badgering the district court, the CCA, and the Supreme Court with these allegations. The CCA bulled past them, getting the okay to execute Hood about 11:05 pm. But the state ran out of time and Hood was spared. Good for him.

I think we all need to contemplate what should happen to O'Connell and Judge Holland now that they have finally come clean about this. I say what they did is such an outrage and an affront to decency and justice that at the very least, they should be held liable for every penny that Collin County and the state of Texas have had to pay defending the appeals in this case. Frankly, I'd like to include everyone who knew about this affair but chose not to blow the whistle on them, but I don't know how to account for them. So, just put it on the two lovebirds. Total up the costs, split them evenly between them, then hand them a judgment and start freezing assets and garnishing wages. Oh, and by all means disbar them as well. Let them flip burgers to pay off this debt if they have to. Maybe that will make future Abelards and Heloises think twice before hopping in the sack like that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 12, 2008 to Crime and Punishment
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