February 19, 2009
Judicial conduct commission moves against Keller

About damn time.

The state judicial ethics commission has charged Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of the state's highest criminal court, with violating her duty and bringing discredit upon the judiciary when she declined to allow a death row prisoner to file an after-hours appeal in 2007. The inmate, Michael Richard, was executed about 3 1/2 hours later.

Keller will face a public trial to answer the charges and could be removed from office, reprimanded or exonerated.

A complaint against Keller, who presides over the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, was filed with the commission more than a year ago. An editorial in the New York Times this morning said the commission's failure to act during that time was inexcusable.

State Rep. Lon Burnham (D-Ft. Worth) filed a resolution in the Texas House earlier this week calling for Keller's impeachment.

That complaint was filed on October 11, 2007. They sure do take their time on the Judicial Conduct Commission, don't they? I have to wonder, if Rep. Burnam had not filed his resolution to impeach Justice Keller, would we still be waiting on them? The timing looks awfully convenient to me. I mean, better late than never and all that, but c'mon. Why in the world did it take nearly a year and a half for this?

The Times editorial is here, by the way. Patricia Kilday Hart applauds it, while Grits is starting to think that impeachment is appropriate. I say if there's a legitimate way to get her off the bench now, it should be pursued. I just hope we don't have to wait another 16 months for an answer to that.

UPDATE: Mark Bennett has the notice of formal proceedings (PDF) against Justice Keller.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 19, 2009 to Crime and Punishment


Posted by: Jeff N. on February 19, 2009 10:25 PM
Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)