"Judge Keller's Conduct, However, Was Not Exemplary Of A Public Servant"

Despite the title of this post, which is a quote from the Special Master’s findings of fact before the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, this report will surely be trumpeted by the pro-death penalty crowd as exonerating Judge Keller.

And why wouldn’t it be? It comes pretty close to giving her a clean bill of health, and recommends no sanctions especially in light of the “public humiliation she has already suffered”. I have my doubts that she is doing anything other than laughing all the way to the bench, but maybe she has learned something. Hard to believe since with hindsight she claimed, under oath, that she wouldn’t do anything differently.

Mostly I find it impossible to read the decision(and I’m not sure that’s even the right word for it) without some sense of sorrow. Is this what it has come to? After we kill a man, it’s just petty bickering about who is to blame for not doing this and not thinking about that soon enough?  The decision boils down to this: "So what about Keller, his lawyers should have done a better job".

I’ve asked it before: should we kill a man because his lawyer made a mistake?
 

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Michael - January 20, 2010 9:57 PM

Has anything more come of her failure to disclose all of her real property in Dallas County? I always thought that would be a bigger problem for her than this case -- too many politicians don't care about screwing up a death penalty.

Carolyn Elefant - January 21, 2010 9:12 AM

What's even worse than this awful decision is the impact that it's going to have on the poor criminal defense lawyers who worked themselves to the bone to get word of a new Supreme Court decision to the court at the last hour. Even though Keller may laugh all the way to the bench, my heart breaks for those poor defense lawyers who will likely be questioning themselves for the rest of their career about whether they did enough to save their client. I could accept a decision that Keller didn't do anything wrong. Wouldn't agree with it but could accept it. But did the court have to dump on those poor lawyers to spare this judge? That's what is worst about all of this - it punished the client, now punishes his lawyer - punishes everyone but the one who deserves it.

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