Friday, September 18, 2009

How They Do Justice in Texas

Hood A Texas death row inmate won't be able to argue for a new trial, despite admissions of an affair between his trial judge and the prosecutor, a court announced Wednesday.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 6-3 that convicted murderer Charles Dean Hood should have raised concerns about the affair between the now retired court officials in earlier appeals. The ruling overturned a lower court's recommendation that Hood be able to make his case for a new trial based on the affair.

"Our argument is that they had this information and should have raised it in the earlier writ," said current prosecutor John Rolater, the chief of Collin County's appellate division. "We consider this a significant success for the state."

Hood's attorneys said in a statement that the affair led to a tainted trial and "obvious and outrageous violations" of Hood's constitutional rights. The ruling will "only add to the perception that justice is skewed in Texas," said Andrea Keilen, of the Texas Defender Service.

The rejection from the state's highest criminal appeals court means a future appeal on the same grounds must go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"No one would want to be prosecuted for a parking violation — let alone for capital murder — by a district attorney who is sleeping with the judge," another Hood attorney Greg Wiercioch said. "We are outraged by this breakdown in the integrity of the justice system. ... Mr. Hood is entitled to a new trial before an impartial judge and a fair prosecutor."

Hood's attorneys have said they could not raise the issue of the affair until last year, because it wasn't yet a known fact... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <AP/Google>

What a mess!  Now I have no idea whether or not the guy is actually guilty.  He denies it.  But the ruling by the appeals court is horrific!


the walking man said...

The above is his "sheet" as posted by TDJC. I am not saying he does not deserve a new trial but if there is no new substantial evidence pertinent to the crime presented it would probably end with the same verdict.

I personally have never resided in a state that actively pursued the death penalty so I have no experience to base an opinion on.

Brother Tim said...

"only add to the perception that justice is skewed in Texas"


TomCat said...

I agree, Mark. As far as I know, he may well be guilty and I have no problem with his conviction, just the manner in which he was convicted.

Brother, perhaps "only add to the perception that justice is screwed in Texas would be better. ;-)