25 October 2007

‘We close at 5.’

"When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff." - Cicero

In my own experience Judges are an unsavory lot. They make law and they often do so on the basis of narrow-mindedness and prejudice. They are less interested in rendering a fair judgement (or even one that accords with standard legal rationales) than in clearing the docket or imposing their personal views. In many ways they are not much different than rent-a-cops - folks with Associate's Degrees who we put in uniform and set out to defend 'order' at malls and shopping centers. The sole difference is that they have gone to law school and so are especially sanctimonious. Fortunately, in my own experience no judge has had the prerogative to make a life-or-death decision.

The woman pictured at right is Sharon Keller a Texas criminal appeals court judge who confirms my views. According to this story in The Guardian and this one in The New York Times she refused to keep her office open for a last-minute death-penalty appeal when the Defense Attorneys were late filing papers due to a computer problem. She embodies Cicero's aphorism. And in so doing she reduces respect for law and the courts. In the meantime the prisoner was executed even though the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the method of killing used by the State of Texas. While the court has not yet decided that case, it was known that it planned to review the use of lethal injection in executions when Keller decided she couldn't be late for dinner - or whatever pressing issue compelled her to act with depraved indifference to anything resembling justice. The man who was executed - Michael Richard - was convicted of rape and murder. He was not a nice man and I have no illusion on that score. But a conviction does not strip a person of constitutional protections. Sharon Keller seems not to notice that.



Blogger Texas Moratorium Network said...

Sign Our Judicial Complaint Against Judge Sharon Keller

If you are as shocked as we were by Judge Sharon Keller saying "We close at 5" and refusing to accept an appeal 20 minutes after 5 PM by lawyers representing a man about to be executed, then sign on to a judicial complaint. We will submit this complaint to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct on October 30, 2007. Anyone can sign the complaint.

25 October, 2007 15:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The son of a bitch raped and killed a mother of seven. Why does he deserve the 20 minutes courtesy?! Fuck him! The judge didn't break any laws. She closed the office at 5 PM as normal. I'm happy that the relatives of the woman who was murdered got some peace of mind. This murderer and rapist is a subhuman piece of trash.

25 October, 2007 20:37  
Anonymous OXYMORON said...

I have no sympathy for this plaintiff either, but I think Anonymous should offer himself or herself to service for the state of Texas to administer the lethal injection. Or just go murder someone yourself to satisfy your inchoate rage.
I strongly suspect this judge is looking for right wing cred among an audience like Anon.
I am considered a tree huggin, nigger lovin, baby killin liberal around these parts. Truth is, I have no problem with the death penalty in some cases, especially when there is torture of the victim involved. However the attitudes of Anon and the actions of this judge support my position that the penalty should be off the table without better assurances for due process.
Look for this judge on Hannity or The Factor

26 October, 2007 09:26  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

O ...

You hit the nail on the head. This is about due process. Sure, Keller did not break any laws (although there are lots of folks who think she clearly crossed the lines of professional ethics). But she surely revealed herself as totally lacking in the sort of judgement we ought to expect from any public official but judges in particular. I have no illusions about this prisoner. But capital punishment is administered in such a ridiculously skewed manner that it hardly amounts to equal protection. Of course, there will be those who say 'who cares' the man deserve what he got. I wait for the day those folks stand in front of a judge like Keller or those I've encountered.

26 October, 2007 09:39  
Blogger stanco said...

Bet she would've opened her office at midnight on a weekend for Scooter!

26 October, 2007 14:26  

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