Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Breaking News: Texas Judge Removes Date of Execution in Case Involving Allegations that Trial Judge and DA Were Involved; State Appeals

Posted by Alan Childress

Updating Nancy Rapoport's post on LPB here (and more at her personal blog), and the vital efforts of Monroe Freedman at LEF here, I just received an email from one of Charles Dean Hood's attorneys (Andrea Keilen) saying:

Just a few minutes ago, the Collin County District Court judge presiding over this case withdrew Charles Hood's execution date and recused himself (without explanation) from any further proceedings.  The prosecutors have not decided whether they will appeal this ruling.

I will update more soon.  (The execution would have been six minutes from now.)

Update:  To see the Judge's order and recusal, Download order20collin20county206172008.pdf

Further update:  A Notice that was made requesting discovery on the relationship under Brady and the like, filed today before the Judge entered the removal of execution date above (and apparently is still pending), was emailed by another attorney for Hood, Laura Burstein. To read it, Download notice_of_brady_evidence.rtf   Both documents were posted here with permission from the relevant attorney.

Update #3:  Prosecutors right now are appealing the Order, above, of removal of the execution date, reports Ms. Burstein (6:22 pm cst).  The mandamus request has been filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (that's the state's "supreme court" for all criminal matters).  They are seeking for the Order to be vacated and the execution to proceed tonight.

Update #4:  The Dallas Morning News is on top of the story and notes that the Judge who withdrew the execution had worked as an ADA in the office that tried Hood.  It also notes that legal ethicists have protested the potential execution in light of the possible conflict.

Further LPB updates are in new and separate posts above this post, such as this new one.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/06/update-stay-of.html

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Comments

Any chance someone's going to report the judge and prosecutor for conflicts?

Posted by: Nancy Rapoport | Jun 17, 2008 6:30:17 PM

The prospects of that are at least supported by this email from Robert Cummins (that I am sure Nancy got too, but I thought the readers would want a follow up to her fair question), saying:

The Iowa Supreme Court suspended a judge who had a sexual relationship with a county attorney regularly appearing before the judge---See In the Matter of Gerard, 613 N.W. 2d 271 (Iowa 2001). The Court observed:

"This behavior undermines the integrity of the judicial system. What is the public to think when they learn the assistant county attorney was having a sexual relationship with a judge before whom she appeared? What is the public to think when they learn the sexual conduct was taking place in the courthouse? More importantly, what is a criminal defendant to think when the judge sentences that defendant or overrules that defendant’s motion to suppress, when the assistant county attorney with whom he is having a sexual relationship was arguing the case on behalf of the State?"

Posted by: Alan Childress | Jun 18, 2008 8:05:58 AM

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