A couple of days ago I blogged about the possible impeachment of Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller. Now she faces ouster at the hands of Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. As readers may recall, Keller declined to allow Michael Richards, who was facing imminent execution, a 20 minute extension on his brief. He was seeking a stay based on a critical decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court hours earlier. As more information has come out, it's become clear that not only did Keller make a bad call - she didn't follow proper procedure. Another judge - Cheryl Johnson - was assigned to handle Richards' appeal and she was never informed about his request. Worse yet, she covered up her decision for at least a short period. Now, the Texas Commission has filed seven charges against Keller, accusing her of bringing public discredit to the judiciary. This from today's Houston Chronicle:
According to the commission’s charges, the Court of Criminal Appeals judges gathered the morning after the execution and Judge Cathy Cochran expressed surprise that Richard had not appealed. “Judge Keller did not disclose to the other judges her communications with (the court’s general counsel) the night before nor the fact that Mr. Richard’s lawyers had called the CCA to ask whether filings after 5 p.m. could be accepted,” the brief said.
Somehow, these kinds of decisions always have some mundane grounding:
According to the commission's findings, Keller had left the court that afternoon to meet a repairman at her home and did not return to the office. An appeals court attorney called her at home shortly before 5 p.m. to ask if the office could stay open and she said "no" and asked "why?"
When told of the impending appeal, Keller again said "no," the commission said.
UPDATE: We now have a copy of the Texas Judicial Commission's complaint here.