Temporary Freedom for Anthony Graves?
Judge recommends Texas death row inmate Anthony Graves be released while awaiting retrial
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's appeal of the 5th Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied Oct. 2, but Assistant AG Edward Marshall continued to try to block Graves' release from prison during a bail hearing before Froeschner, arguing that the federal judge had no jurisdiction to consider bail since the federal appeals process has run its course. Instead, the state argued that Burleson Co. Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett, who will preside over Graves' retrial, should have the authority to decide whether Graves should be released. But Froeschner wasn't buying: "If a federal court issues an order that a man is being held unconstitutionally, it makes no sense that the state can just thumb its nose," he said.
No retrial date has been set, though it seems likely that Graves' attorneys including Amarillo's Jeff Blackburn, who heads up the innocence project at Texas Tech may fight to have Towslee-Corbett recused from presiding over any future proceedings involving Graves her father, former District Judge Harold Towslee, presided over Graves' original trial. It wouldn't be the first time that Towslee-Corbett has presided over a case originally heard by her father nor the first time that attorneys and other court watchers have been skeptical of her decision not to recuse herself. Harold Towslee presided over the 1998 Bastrop Co. capital murder trial of Rodney Reed; earlier this year his daughter presided over an evidentiary hearing in that case ordered by the Court of Criminal Appeals, in part over a question of whether the Bastrop DA withheld evidence from Reed's defense. During that hearing, Towslee-Corbett consistently ruled against the defense, and in June signed off on a prosecutor-drafted findings of fact to declare that Reed has no basis on which to receive a new trial.