On Monday, April 19, 2010, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in the case of Charles Dean Hood and his 1990 death sentence which was prosecuted by a district attorney engaged in a sexual extra-martial affair with the presiding judge. Judge Verla Sue Holland presided over the trial while Tom O’Connell, then Collin County district attorney, prosecuted Hood; the couple had been involved in a secret affair for years, but did not admit to the accusations until 2008. The case has gained both national and international notoriety with extensive coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision, which was made without comment, coming forth over the course of the week.
Hood’s appeal to the Supreme Court was supported by 30 top legal ethicists and an array of high-profile judges and prosecutors, including former FBI director William Sessions and Texas’s former governor and attorney general Mark White. Although Hood was granted a re-sentencing trail in February by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, this was granted on a legal issue unrelated to the affair. Essentially, both the Texas and national Court’s refusal to acknowledge the conflict of interest in the case, has left many to question how constitutionally complying the judicial system is.
The following are links to various articles available since the Supreme Court’s decision:
“Hood case not heard by U.S. Supreme Court“- Plano Courier Star
“Prosecutor-Judge Affair Not Enough to Reverse Capital Murder Conviction: U.S. Supreme Court”– CBS News
Constitution Project Press Release regarding Court’s decision
“Supreme Court turns down appeal of Texas inmate tried in court of amorous judge, prosecutor“- Austin American Statesman
“Supreme Court Denies Review in Texas Case Involving Judge’s Affair with DA“- National Law Journal
“Supreme Court rejects appeal in Charles Dean Hood’s murder case“– Dallas Morning News