death penalty news—-TEXAS

Dec. 3

TEXAS—-impending execution

Texas to execute man convicted of killing Granbury girl

A condemned 44-year-old inmate is hoping the U.S. Supreme Court keeps him
from the Texas death chamber for the fatal slashing of an 11-year-old

Bobby Wayne Woods is set for lethal injection this evening in Huntsville
for the April 1997 abduction, rape and slaying of Sarah Patterson, his
ex-girlfriend's daughter. The girl and her 9-year-old brother were
snatched from their home in Granbury, near Fort Worth. Her brother was
beaten and left for dead but survived to testify against Woods.

Woods' lawyers argue that he should be spared because of a Supreme Court
ban on executing mentally impaired people. They also contend earlier
unsuccessful appeals in Woods' case were the result of shoddy work by an
attorney now barred from taking on appeals for Texas death row inmates.

(source: Associated Press)


Family Of Murdered Girl Ready For Woods' Execution Reporting

The state's execution chamber awaits one of North Texas most notorious

Bobby Wayne Woods is scheduled die today more than a year after receiving
a last minute reprieve and 12 years after a gruesome crime.

Duane Palmer was Bobby Wayne Woods' brother-in-law in 1997 when they were
living in Hood County. "There was something wrong with him you could see
it in his eyes even then," says Palmer.

Palmer remembers watching in horror that year when news out of Granbury
broke about the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sarah Patterson, whose body
was found near a creek.

Her 9-year-old brother Cody was beaten and left for dead in a cemetery but
later recovered. Authorities soon arrested Woods, their mother's boyfriend
and he was convicted of Capital Murder.

He told us from death row last year that his IQ is only 63 and an appeals
court granted a temporary stay. But some of those once close to Woods
don't buy that and say he's pulling one over on the justice system.

"He's just as normal as you and I except he kills children and molests
them," says Palmer, "He's grasping at any straw he can get as far as I'm
concerned trying to stay alive."

(source: CBS News)


Questions about late death penalty appeal—-Lawyer tied to Keller
incident could face sanctions in latest missed deadline.

Lawyer David Dow was called before the state Court of Criminal Appeals on
Wednesday to explain why he blew a court-imposed deadline by filing an
appeal within 48 hours of his client's execution.

The inmate, Danielle Simpson, was executed Nov. 18, but those particulars
weren't the main reason a small crowd gathered in the Capitol-area
courtroom where the state's highest criminal court normally toils in
obscurity. Dow drew an audience because of his role in another late appeal
on behalf of convicted murderer Michael Richard, whose 2007 case resulted
in misconduct charges that are pending against the court's presiding
judge, Sharon Keller.

Richard was not mentioned at the Wednesday hearing, but his presence was
felt. Dow was one of the Texas Defender Service lawyers who tried,
unsuccessfully, to file a late appeal for Richard in 2007 leading to
charges that Keller improperly closed the court to the inmate on his
execution day.

Dow also testified at Keller's August trial on the charges; the judge in
that case has not delivered his findings to the State Commission on
Judicial Conduct.

Keller did not participate in the hearing and will not join the court's
opinion to be issued at a future, unspecified date, said Judge Lawrence
Meyers, who directed the proceedings in Keller's absence.

Available sanctions against Dow include a contempt-of-court finding and a
complaint to the State Bar of Texas' disciplinary division.

Dow blamed the missed deadline on a conflict with Simpson's
court-appointed lawyer, Wes Volberding, and on what was described as
Simpson's increasingly erratic behavior. Simpson variously asked for the
Texas Defender Service to replace Volberding and directed Volberding to
abandon all appeals, said Dow's lawyer, University of Texas law professor
Jordan Steiker.

When it was sorted out, Dow and co-counsel Katherine Black received
Volberding's case files in 15 poorly organized boxes only nine days
before Simpson's execution date, Steiker said.

At first, Dow and Black anticipated filing a petition stating that Simpson
was ineligible for execution because he was mentally ill. But a review of
the files found another potential claim: that prosecutors had improperly
excluded black jurors at Simpson's trial for kidnapping and killing an
84-year-old Anderson County woman in 2000. Simpson was black.

Additional death row visits to assess Simpson's mental health further
delayed the appeal, Steiker said.

"This is not a case in which the lawyers were sitting on this claim for
months or years," Steiker said.

But several judges, including Cathy Cochran and Michael Keasler, noted
that the juror claim had already been raised and denied in an earlier
appeal. Dow agreed but said he thought a later court ruling opened the
door for another try.

The 9-member court imposed the 48-hour deadline on death row appeals in
June 2008, in the wake of criticism over its handling of the Richard case.

One other lawyer, Kevin "Gator" Dunn of Houston, has missed the deadline,
and he too was called before the court to explain his tardiness, said Sian
Schilhab, the court's general counsel. The court chose not to sanction

(source: Austin American-Statesman)