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Keller hearing moved to San Antonio

It had been scheduled to be in Austin, but now it’s been moved to San Antonio.

State District Judge David Berchelmann Jr., who was chosen by the Texas Supreme Court to preside over Keller’s trial, will use his downtown San Antonio courtroom for the proceedings — set to begin Aug. 17 and expected to last a week or longer.

The special trial was moved from Austin by agreement between Chip Babcock, Keller’s lawyer, and Mike McKetta, the lawyer representing the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.


Also this week, the commission filed amended charges against Keller. The new document beefs up the charges by claiming Keller violated two additional canons of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct:

  1. Canon 3C(1): Requiring judges to diligently and promptly discharge administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice and to cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.
  2. Canon 3C(2): Requiring judges to ensure that court staff and officials observe the standards of diligence that apply to judges.

The amended charges also accuse Keller of violating the Texas Government Code against “willful or persistent conduct that is clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of a judge’s duties.” Section 33.001(b) also bans the “unjustifiable failure to timely execute the business of the court.”

The Texas Moratorium Network, which had filed one of the original complaints against Keller back in 2007, has more. It’s not really clear to me why the hearing was moved, but I suppose it doesn’t matter that much – it’s not any harder to get to San Antonio than it is to get to Austin. Had it been moved to Dalhart or some such, that would have been different. In any event, I’m curious about the amended charges. Is this a sign that the commission intends to be tougher on her, or is it more likely to be a technicality? Any lawyers out there, I’d love to hear from you on this. Thanks.

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