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Hullabaloo


Monday, March 11, 2013

 
American In-justice: a hanging judge who enjoys her work

by digby

Shouldn't this judge be removed from the bench and disbarred? This isn't any normal case: a man's life was a stake and she put her thumb on the scales of justice so that she could ensure he was executed.

The ugly story is familiar to those of you who have been reading along with me through the years. Richard was scheduled to die in Texas by lethal injection on Sept. 25, 2007, but on the morning of his execution the U.S. Supreme Court accepted a case involving lethal injection procedures. A stay of execution for Richard should have been almost ministerial in nature -- and, indeed, scheduled executions via lethal injection were halted all over the country pending the court's resolution of the case we now know as Baze v. Rees. Except in Judge Keller's court.

Keller didn't assist Richard's lawyers in getting that appeal filed. In fact, she actively worked against those lawyers to ensure that their appeal would not be filed in time. She didn't tell her fellow judges to expect a Richards filing -- they didn't find out until the next morning that Keller had blocked the attempt to file. Knowing that she alone had determined Richard's fate that day, Keller went home to meet a repairman at her house. Richard was executed that night, his final appeal never heard by the courts. This from a jurist who was known before the incident as "Killer" Keller for her views on the death penalty.

What Keller did (and did not do) that day, the commission declared on Friday, "constitutes willful or persistent conduct" that "is clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of her duties as a judge" and "casts public discredit on the judiciary and the administration of justice" in Texas. And certainly it is this language -- and not the "public warning," whatever that means -- that has Keller fired up. After getting the verdict, the judge and her attorney turned upon the commission in a decidedly unjudicious manner. "It is perhaps not surprising that the same commission that made the charges finds them now to be valid despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary," Keller's lawyer said. "Judge Keller looks forward to challenging this decision."

I'm being very generous when I only prescribe removal and disbarment. If it were up to me she'd be jailed.

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