"On September 25, 2007, at about 4.45pm, Judge Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, received a telephone call from a member of the court’s staff.
He told her that lawyers acting for Michael Richard, a prisoner facing execution that evening, were asking if the court could stay open to accept a petition to stay the sentence. Judge Keller replied: “We close at five.” Richard was executed at 8.20pm. The extraordinary judicial misconduct proceedings heard against Keller last month should result in her dismissal from office."
Full story here.
I was truly lost for words when I saw this, hence the rapid succession of posts. For the record, I am very much opposed to the death penalty. This isn't the place to rehash the debate, but I'm sure that even those in favour of the death penalty can see the problem with the system when this sort of person is allowed to participate.
"Judge Keller gave evidence at the disciplinary hearing that she had left work early to meet a repairman at her home. She explained that the request for the court to stay open late did not fall within the rules: “I think it’s a close call, but I think that’s right,” she said of her decision. “I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do.” She confirmed that she would not act differently if faced with the same circumstances again."
This is the worst sort of administrative legalism, and when the State is imposing the ultimate penalty, should be avoided at all costs.