Texas judge who shut door on a death row appeal is on trial for misconduct
A prominent Texas judge says she will take the stand to answer charges of professional misconduct for refusing to hear a last-minute appeal from a condemned prisoner that came in after normal office hours, The Associated Press reports.
Sharon Keller, a Republican dubbed “Sharon Killer” for her tough stance on crime, faces a special hearing at the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct that could result in her removal from the bench of the state’s highest criminal court.
In 2007, Keller had instructed a staffer to close the court after 5 p.m. at a time when lawyers for a convicted killer were scrambling to seek a stay of execution in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear the man’s case, the AP reports.
The efforts to file the appeal had been delayed by computer glitches and the prisoner’s lawyers had called at 4:45 p.m. to request a delay, but were told by the judge that “we close at 5 p.m.”
The prisoner was executed by lethal injection about three hours later.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded that Keller had engaged in “willful or persistent conduct that cast public discredit on the judiciary” and multiple newspaper editorials condemned her actions.
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