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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Protest hits home for Texas judge who refused to hear late appeal


By Amanda DeBard
Daily Texan
Oct 31, 2007

Austin anti-death penalty activist Alison Dieter protests outside of the home of Judge Sharon Keller on Tuesday evening.
Media Credit: Bryant Haertlein
Austin anti-death penalty activist Alison Dieter protests outside of the home of Judge Sharon Keller on Tuesday evening.

A group of activists opposing the death penalty rallied outside Judge Sharon Keller's home in North Austin Tuesday night.

Keller presides over the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and refused to accept a late death penalty appeal on Sept. 25, which resulted in Michael Richard's execution.

"We came to where we think she can hear us," said Scott Cobb, president of the Texas Moratorium Network, an organization in opposition of the death penalty.

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Cobb said the protest occurred at Keller's house because most members of his organization work until 5 p.m. when the Court of Criminal Appeals office would be closed.

Keller did not come out of her house at any point during the protest and did not respond to knocks on her front door.

In light of Richard's execution, Cobb said he thinks the trust in and integrity of the criminal justice system has been lost.

"We're asking for her to be removed from office to restore the integrity of the system," he said. "If there is no trust in the system, then the whole thing breaks down."

About 1,200 public members have signed the judicial complaint against Keller, which will be delivered to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct Nov. 6. The complaint is sponsored by the Texas Moratorium Network.

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