Sunday, September 7, 2008

Did a judge-prosecutor romance taint Texas murder trial?

I don't think the outcome of this case would necessarily have been different if the judge had recused herself. But I do think she was wrong not to recuse herself.

Defendant faces execution Sept. 10
By Warren Richey
The Christian Science Monitor
September 8, 2008 edition

...The lawyer for a death-row inmate says he is trying to break a "conspiracy of silence" in Texas over whether the district attorney and the judge who presided over his client's 1990 capital murder trial were having a secret romantic relationship.

The inmate, Charles Dean Hood, is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday.

A Texas judge has ordered a hearing into the issue on Monday morning. The judge has also ordered the former judge and former district attorney to be prepared to answer questions under oath about their alleged affair and potentially surrender any documentary evidence of a relationship.

The unusual twists and turns in the Hood case are attracting national attention and adding fuel to an already-heated debate over capital punishment in Texas...