But how evil is he really? As evil as this woman?
An inmate on death row who tried to file a last-minute appeal against his execution in Texas was told: “We close at five.” Too late to plead, Michael Wayne Richard was put to death by lethal injection.The Judge, Sharon Keller, was too busy at her home with a repairman to consider the appeal. (Maybe her wall of skulls was in need of maintenance?)
The Herald describes those fateful last hours:
On the day of Richard's execution, the US Supreme Court had agreed to review the constitutionality of death by lethal injection. The sudden decision gave his lawyers a small window of opportunity to appeal for a stay.
But a faulty email system made them 20 minutes late delivering appeal papers, and Keller refused to return to work and read them.I don't know whether Richard's conviction was sound - that isn't the point. A man's life was in the balance and a judge couldn't be bothered to consider his appeal.
But she has past form for this kind of ruthlessness. Back to the Times:
Judge Keller, a former prosecutor, earned her nickname in 1998 when she rejected a new trial for Roy Criner, a man with learning disabilities who was convicted of rape, even though new DNA tests showed that the semen in the victim was not his.
“We can’t give new trials to everyone who establishes, after conviction, that they might be innocent,” she later told a television interviewer. “We would have no finality in the criminal justice system and finality is important.” Mr Criner was eventually pardoned by the then Texas Governor George W. Bush.Finality may be important, but what of justice? What if this guy had been another Roy Criner? Was it so much to ask the judge to at least consider the merits of the appeal?
Happily this "hanging judge" may be about to be punished herself. She is now facing a misconduct hearing.