Blaming the Defendant, Even When the Penalty Is Death
So, the judge and the prosecutor in a capital case in Texas admit to having an affair, but don't disclose it at trial. The defendant, Charles Dean Hood, is convicted and sentenced to death. Eighteen years after the trial, Hood's lawyer learns about the judge's relationship with the prosecutor, fights valiantly to secure an on-the-record admission of the affair, and submits the evidence to the court.
At this point, you're probably thinking that the only possible issue for consideration is whether the affair between the judge and the prosecutor prejudiced the outcome of the case. But Hood can't even get that far. Instead, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals sent Hood's case back to the lower court to determine whether evidence of the affair was presented too late in the appeals process.
The appeals court ruling suggests that Hood waited too long, particularly given that evidence of the affair had apparently been available for several years. Well, actually, the evidence was available even earlier than that: at the time of trial, the point where the judge or prosecutor should have disclosed the relationship to begin with. To even suggest that Hood bears responsibility for having failed to discover what the prosecutor and judge knew all along is, quite simply, criminal.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on November 20, 2008 at 03:09 PM | Permalink
| Comments (0)