Friday, 21 December 2007

Nominee Number Eight ... Judge Sharon Keller

From the Standdown blog :

Nominee Number Eight ... Judge Sharon Keller

The Dallas Morning News editorial board is counting down the top 10 nominees for Texan of the Year. Number eight on the list is Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Sharon Keller, and she has not made the list for good purpose. Today's editorial is, " Texan of the Year finalist: Sharon Keller - Judge said, 'We close at 5,' cast pall on justice."

Texas jumps off the national map in many ways, good and not so good. Not so good includes the international notoriety of a hyperactive death chamber.

Before the U.S. Supreme Court effectively halted capital punishment in September, Texas carried out seven of the 10 most recent executions nationwide.

That very last execution brings us a finalist for Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year, Presiding Judge Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The newspaper's distinction is bestowed for better or worse; this one goes in the latter column.

Judge Keller will forever be associated with four callous words that make a caricature of Texas justice: "We close at 5."


Judge Keller hails from the Dallas family of Keller's Hamburgers fame. Since first elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994, she has cultivated a distinct profile – tough on crime. The close-at-5 decision in the Richard execution, however, only perpetuates the notion that Texas is indifferent to justice.

Earlier coverage of the court-closing fiasco, and what has followed, is here, here, and here.

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