Dear Editor: The people of Texas have been publicly warned today that we have an ethically compromised judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who did not accord a person about to be executed with access to open courts or the right to be heard according to law, yet she has been allowed to keep her job. Sharon Keller's actions were not in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of her profession as a judge. This is the worst-case scenario for Texas, because now we know that the problems in the Texas death penalty system reach to Texas' highest ranking criminal appeals court, and yet the judge who closed the doors to justice remains on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. A public warning is useful, but it is not enough. Keller should be removed from office. The public warning tells us that if you seek justice in Texas, proceed with caution because Keller is the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Legislature can help restore integrity to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals by impeaching and removing Keller from office. We now have the findings of fact from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, so it is confirmed that Keller has brought discredit to the Texas judiciary by her misconduct hindering access to justice. It is up to the people of Texas now to take the findings of fact and act on them by seeking to remove Keller from office through their elected representatives using the impeachment process or at the ballot box in 2012, when she is up for re-election. Since Keller is not up for re-election for another two years, it is in the best interest of justice that the Legislature removes her from office.
Scott Cobb President, Texas Moratorium Network
[Editor's note: See this week's update by Jordan Smith, "SCJC to Keller: Consider Yourself Warned," News.]