Texas Capital Punishment Case On Hold

In my December 2, 2010 post I reviewed the arguments against capital punishment to be used by New York’s Innocence Project in an appeal hearing in Texas which was to begin on December 6, 2010.

The appeal began, however, at the outset State prosecutors argued that the hearing on the constitutionality of Texas’ death penalty was improperly before the Court as the trial judge, Kevin Fine, who originally entertained the arguments and declared the law unconstitutional but later rescinded his ruling, had no authority to consider the matter in the context of the trial of John Edward Green, who had not yet been convicted of murder.

Following their submissions the prosecutors “stood mute” and declined to participate in the hearing.

The appeal continued until yesterday when the Court ruled that the matter would be put on hold to allow the prosecutors time to assemble legal arguments in support of their position.

As is typical in highly politicized legal cases, newspapers in Houston Texas describe Judge Fine as a “heavily-tatooed” Democrat, a former drug addict and alcoholic. Others in Texas are quick to point out that Fine was not elected by Texans at large but only by eligible voters in Houston.

Legal experts agree that it is likely that Judge Fine ruled on the death penalty to highlight the issue, knowing full well that his “activism” would not survive the scrutiny of an appeal court.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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