Thursday, October 08, 2009

Update on Sharon Keller (Will She be Removed from Office for Misconduct and Incompetence?)

Chuck Lindell at the Austin American-Statesman has an update on what is going on in the process to determine whether Sharon Keller should be removed from office for incompetence and misconduct, receive some other punishment or be let off. It has been a long time already since Sept 25, 2007 Sharon "Killer" Keller first said "we close at 5" and refused to accept an appeal after 5 PM from Michael Richard on the day of his execution. At her trial in August, Keller said she would not do anything differently if she had to do it over again.

From the Statesman:

Finally, there is movement in the proceedings against Judge Sharon Keller, accused of improperly closing the state’s highest criminal court to a death row inmate on the evening of his execution.

Today, both sides expect to receive transcripts of Keller’s four-day August trial, kicking off two deadlines that will bring the matter closer to a resolution.

Once the transcript is in hand, the defense and prosecution will have two weeks to file proposed findings of fact to District Judge David Berchelmann Jr.

Then they’ll have one week to file objections to the other side’s proposal.

And then it will be up to Berchelmann, whose job as special master requires him to submit his findings of fact to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Berchelmann has no deadlines beyond a state law that requires him to act “promptly.”

The Commission on Judicial Conduct charged Keller with violating her duty as a judge and with bringing discredit upon the judiciary when she refused to keep the court open for an after-hours appeal by death row inmate Michael Richard in 2007.

The 13-member commission will rely on Berchelmann’s findings to decide among three options: drop the charges, censure Keller or suggest that she be removed from office.

A removal recommendation would kick off an entirely new proceeding before a specially created panel of seven appellate court judges.

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