Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supreme Court denies review in death penalty case during which the judge and the prosecutor were dating

Back in September 2009, I commented on the news that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — the state’s supreme court on criminal matters — ruled that a man facing the death penalty would not get a new trial despite the fact that the prosecutor and the judge were involved in a romantic affair during the trial. See here. The Court then reversed itself and remanded the case for a new sentencing phase - not for a new determination of guilt. See here.

The case was then appealed to the US Supreme Court and today it denied review without comment.

For more on this story go to The Blog of the Legal Times, Simple Justice,, Ethics Alarms, Grits for Breakfast, the Legal Ethics Forum and CNN.

The overall reaction to the news is negative. Legal Ethics Forum calls it "disappointing news." Simple Justice states: "It's enough to know that the justices of the Supreme Court are romantics at heart, and not even an execution can stand in the way of true love."

Ethics Alarms concludes that "for the public to trust a system that can take away a citizen’s liberty and life, it has to be seen as trustworthy. The Hood case . . . threatens the integrity of the justice system itself."

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