This is a necessary step, but it is not a sufficient one.
Texas' highest criminal court has asked the State Bar of Texas to investigate a San Antonio attorney who missed critical deadlines in four recent death row appeals -- actions that jeopardized inmates' chances of obtaining further legal review before execution.
The Chronicle reported on Monday that San Antonio attorney Suzanne Kramer was among a handful of lawyers statewide who repeatedly missed death row deadlines but continued to get capital murder assignments.
On Wednesday, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeal found Kramer in contempt of court for failing again to properly file inmate Juan Castillo's appeal -- originally due in December 2006 . Kramer was fined $250, removed from Castillo's case and referred to the chief disciplinary counsel of the State Bar of Texas, the opinion shows.
The court removed her from three out of four late cases in 2008, but at the time continued to allow her to represent Castillo.