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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UPDATE: DA Appeals, Seeks to Execute Hood Tonight

8:23pm From the Statesman: "The Court of Criminal Appeals has ordered that a district judge in Collin County had no authority to withdraw Charles Dean Hood’s death warrant. However, the state’s highest court said in an unsigned order that since the judge has now recused himself from the case, the Court of Criminal Appeals has no authority to order the judge to reinstate the death warrant. Hood’s lawyers say they are unsure whether Collin County prosecutors will file additional motions this evening in an attempt to prompt Hood’s execution."



The Statesman is reporting that

Charles Dean Hood’s scheduled execution today was delayed after a state district judge recalled Hood’s death warrant in the wake of recent allegations that the district attorney and trial judge in the case had a secret intimate relationship that may have undermined Hood’s right to a fair trial.

But Hood’s fate this evening remains unresolved as prosecutors in Collin County have appealed for the state’s highest criminal court to overrule the district judge and order the execution to proceed. The Associated Press reports that state prison officials have declined to return Hood to death row, pending the outcome of the appeal.

“Only in Texas. Only in Texas,” said Lawrence Fox, who teaches law at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and has been watching the case closely.

“If we’re going to have the death penalty in America, then we better conduct the proceedings in a pristine way … If it (the relationship between the judge and district attorney) is true, he is entitled to a new trial in front of another judge and it doesn’t make a difference that everyone thinks he is guilty.”

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