SHARON KELLER: NO WORD FROM TEXAS SUPREME COURT ON HER APPLICATION TO HAVE ETHICS REBUKE THROWN OUT. THE STATESMAN;
"In the matter pending before the Supreme Court, Keller claims she was improperly reprimanded by the 13-member commission, which said Keller failed to properly perform her duties in 2007 when she closed the Court of Criminal Appeals clerk’s office at 5 p.m. despite knowing that defense lawyers wanted to file an appeal in a pending execution.
Keller is asking the Supreme Court to throw out the rebuke and dismiss all charges against her because, she argues, the Texas Constitution forbids the commission from issuing such a warning."
REPORTER CHUCK LINDELL: THE STATESMAN;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUND: Justice Sharon Keller has attained notoriety for allegations that she allowed convicted murderer and rapist Michael Richard to be executed on September 25, 2007 - notwithstanding his attempt to file a stay of execution - because the court clerk's office closes at 5. Keller is of particular interest blog because of the opinion she wrote for the majority in the Roy Criner case. Wikipedia informs us that: "Sharon Faye Keller (born in Dallas, Texas, 1953) is the Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest court for all criminal matters in the State of Texas. Because of her position, she has been involved in many high-profile and controversial cases, and has thus received widespread news coverage......In 1998, Keller she wrote the majority opinion in a 5-3 (one judge abstaining) decision that denied a new trial to Roy Criner. Criner had been convicted of sexual assault in 1990, but newly-available DNA testing had shown that the semen found in the victim was not his......Judge Tom Price, who ran for the Chief Judge seat, in a primary election, said that Keller's Criner opinion had made the court a "national laughingstock." Judge Mansfield, who had sided with the majority in denying Criner a hearing, told the Chicago Tribune that, after watching the Frontline documentary, reviewing briefs and considering the case at some length, he voted "the wrong way" and would change his vote if he could. "Judges, like anyone else, can make mistakes ... I hope I get a chance to fix it." He stated that he hoped Criner's lawyers filed a new appeal as he felt Criner deserved a get a new trial......Following the (appeal court's) refusal to order a new trial, the cigarette butt found at the scene (and not adduced at trial) was subjected to DNA testing.The DNA on the cigarette was not a match for Criner, but it was a match for the semen found in Ogg. Ogg's DNA was also found on the cigarette, indicating that she shared a cigarette with the person who had sex with her (and who presumably killed her). These results convinced the district attorney, local sheriff and the trial judge that Criner was not guilty. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended he be pardoned and, citing "credible new evidence [that] raises substantial doubt about [Criner's] guilt," then-Governor George W. Bush pardoned him in 2000.
The thorough, unabridged Wikipedia article on Keller can be found at:
"The Texas Supreme Court, which announces its decisions every Friday, did not rule this morning on Judge Sharon Keller’s request to have her ethics rebuke thrown out," reporter Chuck Lindell's Statesman story published on 13 August 2010 begins, under the heading, "No ruling yet on Keller appeal."
"The Supreme Court also did not rule on Keller’s request for an emergency stay extending Monday’s deadline to file a more traditional appeal challenging the July 16 “public warning” from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. (That appeal is really a request asking Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson to appoint a three-judge panel that would determine if Keller’s rebuke was justified,)" the story continues. "In the matter pending before the Supreme Court, Keller claims she was improperly reprimanded by the 13-member commission, which said Keller failed to properly perform her duties in 2007 when she closed the Court of Criminal Appeals clerk’s office at 5 p.m. despite knowing that defense lawyers wanted to file an appeal in a pending execution.
Keller is asking the Supreme Court to throw out the rebuke and dismiss all charges against her because, she argues, the Texas Constitution forbids the commission from issuing such a warning.
The Supreme Court is currently on hiatus and begins its new term Sept. 1. The nine justices can still rule on Keller’s petitions later today or Monday by issuing special orders.
Keller’s petition is here.
The commission’s response is here.
And, just filed yesterday, is Keller’s reply to the commission’s response."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be accessed at:
My interest in forensic pathology began with my Toronto Star investigative reporting into once famed since disgraced former doctor Charles Smith. I began this Blog after retiring from the Star in 2006 in order to follow the aftermath into the independent Goudge inquiry into many of Smith's cases. I have now begun to focus on cases involving flawed forensic science no matter where they occur (the recent Amanda Knox prosecution in Italy, for example) and am fascinated by the interest in the Blog from people in countries throughout the world. In another development, my interest in "junk science" "pseudo-experts" and the miscarriages of justice they all too often cause has drawn me deeply into the on-going U.S. death penalty debate where so many troubling cases involve issues relating to DNA and other developments in the world of forensic science. For all of this I rely on my experience as a reporter at the Toronto Star, my work as a lawyer in Ontario's criminal courts, and my abhorrence of injustice. Please send cases and developments which may be of interest to this Blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read on! Harold Levy.