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CCA versus David Dow

According to Grits, UH law professor David Dow and the nonprofit Texas Defender Service will be called to account before the Court of Criminal Appeals for filing tardy paperwork.

Two years ago, David Dow and the Texas Defender Service were embroiled in a controversy after a thwarted last-minute attempt to file pleadings for a death-row inmate. Now Dow and Katherine Black, his TDS co-counsel in a different death penalty case, have been ordered to appear before the Court of Criminal Appeals to explain an “untimely filing,” and they face possible sanctions under one of the CCA’s rules.

On Nov. 18, the CCA ordered Dow, the TDS litigation director, and Black, a TDS staff attorney, to appear before the court for a Dec. 2 hearing to show cause for the untimely filed documents in Ex Parte Simpson. Dow and Black work in the Houston office of TDS, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the representation of death-row inmates.

As noted in the CCA’s order, Sharon Keller, the court’s presiding judge, did not participate in Simpson and is not participating in the court’s show cause hearing for Dow and Black.

Like Grits, I have a feeling that this will not be a pleasant experience for Dow. I sure hope he’s got a good explanation for the Court.

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  1. Jeff N. says:

    From the link, it looks like Dow has a good explanation, but the question is whether the Court will feel like accepting it. It’s almost never a good thing (for the lawyer) when a court and a lawyer get into an adversarial relationship. I hate to see it happening in this case.

  2. Baby Snooks says:

    Miscellaneous Rule 08-101, adopted by the court in June 2008. Under that rule, any motion relating to a death sentence is deemed untimely if filed less than 48 hours before 6 p.m. on the scheduled execution date.

    That for some reason doesn’t seem “constitutional” but then I’m not an attorney. What it seems like is the court is attempting to merely block 11th hour appeals by new attorneys representing someone on death row. It’s Texas so I guess it’s both. Unconstitutional and an attempt to block 11th hour appeals. Not a fan of Innocence Project or David Dow but not a fan of the justice system in Texas either.

  3. Christiane DURAND says:

    This famous Court of Criminal Appeals that dropped its decision on Michael TONEY’s appeal after THIRTEEN MONTHS, when the delay is ONE month…..well placed to give lessons!

  4. Margo says:

    Dr. Dow: a trifle bothersome or particularly bothersome?