The New York Times this morning endorsed Lon Burnam’s impeachment resolution against Sharon Keller, the Criminal Court of Appeals judge who refused to keep the court’s office open for a half hour when an lawyer for a death row defendant pleaded for extra time to complete an appeal. Putting aside Burnam’s dubious agenda from session to session, this time, the Times got it right. Noting that there is a controversy about what transpired the day Michael Richard was executed, it’s time the state of Texas got to the bottom of the matter. As the Times argues: “If the facts are as reported, Judge Keller should be removed from the bench. It would show monumental callousness, as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of justice for a judge to think that a brief delay in closing a court office should take precedence over a motion that raises constitutional objections to an execution. If the facts have been misreported, the impeachment process would allow Judge Keller to set the record straight.” The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct has been sitting on a complaint against Keller filed over the Richards case for over a year. It’s time for the Legislature to step in.
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