'Killer' Keller Digs Herself Deeper

The courthouse doors might close at 5pm, but Judge Keller's problems won't quit knocking

Nearly two dozen legal ethicists have signed on to a declaration filed Tuesday with the State Commission on Judicial Con­duct calling for the ouster of Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller. Keller will face a hearing this summer on charges of official misconduct in connection with her actions on Sept. 25, 2007, when she effectively blocked death row inmate Michael Richard from filing a final appeal. When Richard's lawyers asked if the court would remain open to accept a late filing, Keller infamously announced that the court closes at 5pm. Richard was subsequently executed.

In their declaration, the ethicists – most of them law professors from universities across the country – cite statements Keller made on the campaign trail in 1994 about being "pro-prosecution" as evidence of her "manifest lack of impartiality." Moreover, they argue that Keller's failure to include on financial disclosure statements her interest in real estate worth roughly $2 million was part of a lie – an attempt to obtain state money to cover legal fees associated with the commission's charges against her. The Dallas Morn­ing News first reported last month that Keller had apparently failed to make the financial disclosures, after she told the commission that requiring her to pay for her own defense would be "financially ruinous."

"Keller has committed serious violations of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct," the ethicists wrote. "These violations are sufficiently serious to require that Judge Keller be removed from office."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Sharon Keller
The Case That Never Closes
The Case That Never Closes
SCJC seeks reconsideration of Keller ruling

Jordan Smith, Oct. 29, 2010

Keller Can Consider Herself Unwarned
Keller Can Consider Herself Unwarned
Curtain finally closes on Keller case

Jordan Smith, Oct. 15, 2010

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth inmate of the year set to die

May 9, 2014


Sharon Keller, State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Michael Richard

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle