The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has set a June 18 hearing for Judge Sharon Keller, presiding judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the women responsible for refusing to stay in the office after 5PM so paperwork could be filed to stay the execution of Michael Richard based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of impending executions issued that same day. Keller’s refusal resulted in Richard’s execution, and since 2007 the judge’s conduct has been questioned by some as unethical.
Archive | death penalty
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a report on March 29, 2010 regarding the use of capital punishment in California. The report “Death Decline in 2009: Los Angeles Holds California Back as Nation Shifts to Permanent Imprisonment” found a number of startling facts regarding the death penalty in the nation’s most populous state, including the striking number of new death sentences, the benefits financially of life imprisonment and the changing face of death row to include a proportionally unequal number of Latinos.
Mark White served as the state of Texas’ attorney general from 1979-1983 and as governor from 1983-1987 during which time he oversaw 19 executions. In 2009, the former governor was quoted in both the Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News regarding his waning support of the death penalty in light of wrongful executions and a poor criminal justice system.
On March 5, 2010, a Nueces County jury sentenced Daniel Lopez to death for the 2009 murder of Corpus Christi Police Officer, Stuart Alexander.
With the Supreme Court stay of Hank Skinner’s execution on March 24, 2010 much attention has been drawn to the capital punishment system in Texas and recent trends which may suggest a slow death of the institution. An article by BBC News “Is the death penalty on death row?” (March 30, 2010) cites the steady decline in new death sentences handed down in Texas courts as reason to believe that the death penalty in Texas has fundamentally moved to a less “death” oriented system.
George Parnham, a criminal defense lawyer, wrote an article in the March 26, 2010 issue of the Houston Chronicle on the mental health pilot reform project, Houston Police Department’s Chronic Consumer Stabilization Initiative or CCSI, in Houston. The program, which began in February 2009, was established to provide more intensive case management for 30 individuals with a serious and persistent mental illness who have the most frequent encounters with HPD. The goal of the program was to divert chronic individuals from their damaging routines and provide them the means to a more stabilized life, with am emphasis on reduced use of 911 services.