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Monday, June 16, 2008

Texas "all-time clown college"

Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals turned down two appeals from Charles Hood, who was convicted in a courtroom in which the judge was involved in a long time romantic relationship with the prosecutor. Hood is scheduled for execution on Tuesday, June 17, in Huntsville. Protesters will be at the Texas Capitol at 5:30 on Tuesday.

The Statesman reported, "the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected one appeal, known as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, citing problems with the appellate lawyers' signatures. The second appeal was rejected because Texas law limits death row inmates to one habeas petition unless lawyers uncover new information that was not previously available."

Mike Hall of Texas Monthly wrote last week in an email to Evan Smith that the CCA should stop Hood's execution or risk Texas "becoming the all-time clown college of the American judicial system, the state that okayed both sleeping lawyers and lawyers sleeping with each other." Now that the appeal has been rejected by the TCCA, Texas assumes the title of "all-time clown college".

From Mike Hall's email:

But it’s not merely justice that is important. As the U.S. Supreme Court has said, a court “not only must be unbiased but also must avoid even the appearance of bias.”

And this is why the CCA needs to grant this writ and not, as it has done over the past ten years, rush to execution. After Holland left the district court, she served on the CCA from 1997 until 2001. She worked with eight of the nine currently sitting judges. If they ignore this appeal, this affidavit from a former officer of the Texas courts about one of their former peers, they risk not only the appearance of injustice but the reality of Texas becoming the all-time clown college of the American judicial system, the state that okayed both sleeping lawyers and lawyers sleeping with each other. The state that wouldn’t halt its execution machine long enough to ask a simple question. The CCA should grant this writ, call a hearing, subpoena Holland and O’Connell, and get to the bottom of the matter. Because it’s more than a man’s life that is at stake. It’s the absolute integrity of the way we run our judicial system.
Click here to CONTACT GOVERNOR PERRY and tell him to stop the execution of Charles Dean Hood:

In Austin or from out of state: (512) 463-1782
Calling from Texas: (800) 252-9600
Fax: (512) 463-1849

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