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Monday, January 25, 2010

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Judge Sharon Keller shouldn't get a pass

Last weekend, the San Antonio Express News wrote an editorial saying that Sharon Keller should be removed from office. Now, the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board says that Keller should also be punished, saying she "merits an official reprimand by the commission, and we hope that's the way the last chapter is written in this judicial comedy of errors."


Read the entire editorial here.


Excerpt:

Said the special master's report: "Judge Keller certainly did not exhibit a model of open communication."
Texans deserve better out of the top criminal appeals judge, especially in light of the state's nation-leading record on capital punishment, including more than 200 executions since Keller became presiding judge in 2001. It's a grisly business and one that demands everyone be alert until the executioner's needle goes in the arm of the condemned.
Berchelmann didn't let the appellate attorneys off the hook, suggesting they should have been smart enough or experienced enough to find a last-minute workaround in light of their tardy filing. The report contends they bear "the bulk of fault," as if that calculation helps us grapple with the matter at hand – Keller's leadership on the court.
Since the Richard case, her court has written down – for the first time – procedures to be followed in the hours before an execution nears. That in itself appears to be an admission that the court fell short in the Richard affair.
The judicial commission could find that Keller's shortcomings are so egregious to justify her removal from office, but that's not the way the proceedings seem to be headed. In any case, voters will have the chance to decide the question in two years.

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