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November 08, 2007

Junk Suit In Death Penalty Case

And it will ultimately be unsuccessful.

The wife of executed killer Michael Richard filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday accusing Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller of causing the inmate's Sept. 25 lethal injection.

Marsha Richard of Houston claims Keller had no authority to prevent what would have been a successful appeal to stay her husband's execution.

The lawsuit says Keller violated Michael Richard's due process rights when she ordered the court clerk's office to close promptly at 5 p.m. on Sept. 25 before his lawyers could file an appeal. Houston attorney David Dow had asked for more time after having computer problems.

The suit names Keller in her individual and official capacity, as well as other unnamed defendants in their individual and official capacities.

Excuse me -- Michael Richard was a scum-sucking murdering bastard who caused his own death by his life of crime, having been duly convicted by a jury of his peers and had every appeal rejected. There was no chance of his death sentence being overturned. The only question was when, not if, justice was going to be served -- and even if the appeal had been successful, in the end the only question would be one of HOW the sentence would have been carried out.

Besides, Keller acted appropriately under the law and the procedures in place at the time -- as was shown by the Supreme Court's unwillingness to take up the issue and stop the execution. Interestingly enough, Mrs. Richard didn't see fit to include the justices of the US Supreme Court who refused to grant a stay of execution after Judge Keller properly rejected the appeal when Michael's Richard's lawyers didn't meet the filing deadline.

Dismiss this suit, assess Marsha Richard for all court costs and legal fees for those she sued, and sanction the lawyers for this frivolous suit.

And I'm sure I speak for most Americans when I say that I don't give a rat's ass if murderers suffer a bit while being executed, given the lack of regard they showed for the lives and sufferings of their victims. But if lethal injection of a drug cocktail is a constitutional no-no based upon speculation of suffering, I'm all for the lethal injection of lead at high velocity -- or public hanging in the county where the crime took place. Especially since any reading of the original intent of the Eighth Amendment will show that the founders did not consider the latter to be cruel and unusual punishment, as it was the preferred form of execution in their day.





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"Keller acted appropriately under the law and the procedures in place at the time"

That's not entirely accurate. There was a "duty judge" assigned to assess the case, but Judge Keller made the decision without consulting her or other judges. If the case had not been assigned to someone else, I might agree with you. But procedurally this wasn't her decision to make; she was acting on a personal political agenda in a way that abused her official capacity.

Michael Richard may have been a scumbag, but that doesn't give judges license to emulate his unsavory character.

|| Posted by Gritsforbreakfast, November 8, 2007 07:43 AM ||

No, Judge Keller was right. The court closes at 5:00, and when the deadline was missed the appeal was no longer timely or appropriate to accept.

Notice, if you will, that the US Supreme Court refused to intervene to overturn this action, so we clearly are not looking at a violation of any of Michael Richard's rights.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, November 8, 2007 05:41 PM ||

No, the Supremes ruled on the procedural matter. Saying his rights weren't violated doesn't make it true.

Since Judge Keller didn't tell anybody what she'd done until after the execution (one of her colleagues stayed until 7 pm expecting the appeal), and she didn't inform the duty judge who procedurally should have made the decision (and who had discretion to grant the extension and said she would have used it - she found out the next morning), Keller was NOT just following the rules, as you say. She was violating them.

Cheers, and thanks for stopping by Grits!

|| Posted by Gritsforbreakfast, November 8, 2007 06:27 PM ||

In other words, by your own admission, she did nothing procedurally wrong, according to SCUTUS.

So quit your bitching -- the scumbag is dead and the world is a better place.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, November 8, 2007 08:09 PM ||

Gritsforbreakfast wrote, "she was acting on a personal political agenda in a way that abused her official capacity."

If her political agenda included following the law as it is written then her actions would indicate that she was correct; perhaps not Politically Correct; but within the law.

This is a case of a judge being Borked rather than Swift Boated; making a proper action appear to be improper or so rigid as to be mean spirited or cold. There is no hint of a lie or misrepresentation of facts; to the contrary, the event is cut and dry as are the elements of law involved.

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