Consequences of Supreme Court not hearing cases... Charles Dean Hood

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.slate.com/id/2251663/

    Slate talks about this case, which was rejected for the SC docket...

    Whether or not this person is guilty of the crime for which he was tried, this seems deeply disturbing to me, on multiple levels. This is far from the only case in recent memory where there was judicial or prosecutorial misconduct, and too many of them have not been resolved. A judge that violates the trust of the bench, to me, is committing an act of treason. I honestly don't think there's a much more serious abuse of domestic law than that. They shouldn't just be allowed to engage in this level of misconduct, especially in a capital punishment case, without consequences for their behavior.

    The Slate article also brings up the good point. If these kinds of legitimate legal issues are scuttlebutted because the SC decides not to hear them, admittedly for a variety of reasons ranging from the lack of a clear legal issue to simply lacking time on their docket, then justice is just not being done. Expanding the supreme court doesn't seem like a solution to me; I'm not sure what the right solution is. But to just say, meh, we're not going to talk about it, is not okay.
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #2
    Wow- it just gets crazier, doesn't it? Just when you think you've heard it all.

    And why does this stuff always seem to happen in Texas? ;)
     
  3. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    That was the key sentence for me - it implies a total lack of consideration. I think the SCOTUS is seriously dropping the ball by not even explaining itself.

    I understand it's a very busy court, but it's called upon to make all sorts of life-and-death judgments. Maybe we need younger judges with more stamina for work.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #4
    Well providing he is on death row in the state of Texas he already got one appeal and re-trail. In Texas if you are sentience to death it is an automatic appeal the first time. They get a new judge and jury.
     
  5. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #5
    I actually don't completely understand this part. I understand that he had an appeal that was related to DNA evidence and forensics, and this was processed and denied, but that is not the same thing as a re-trial, and at that time he and his defense team also did not know about the relationship between the judge and the prosecutor. I cannot find anything in any searches I've done that suggest that he's had a retrial.
     
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #6
    The guy murdered two people, his appeal was denied (DNA evidence was tride and true) out to the gallows.

    Charge the judge to the full extent of the law.
     
  7. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #7
    Is there any extent to which the law allows the judge to be charged? I thought they had fairly wide-ranging immunity from being charged for this kind of misconduct....
     
  8. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #8
    Why would you think that? Clearly, if he was having an affair with the prosecutor then it is a conflict of interest for him to be serving as the judge for this particular trial.
     
  9. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #9
    Disbarment is a possibility that should be used IMO.
     
  10. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    Being recused from a trial is hardly a punishment.

    Yeah, there is that. I guess, what I'm saying, is that the penalty should be much, much harsher. I don't approve of Texas's death penalty, but a judge who does something like this would be an appropriate example of a place to levy a capital punishment, in my mind.
     
  11. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #11
    Good question. I don't know about being charged - by which I assume you mean criminally charged. Without having read about the situation, I'm betting his state's Bar will, as a disciplinary measure, remove him from being judge at a minimum and will likely suspend or disbar him. Beyond that, I'm guessing he will be immune (vis-a-vis "state agent immunity") from civil suit or criminal charges.

    As for the one-sentence opinion that someone mentioned, nothing to that really. That's what appellate courts do all the time. It's their way of saying that the lower ruling stands, and a legal opinion won't add to this or future dialogues.

    Looking at it broadly, it appears to be an issue of timeliness of appeal. The idea of "staying" or lengthening an appeal due to later-discovered evidence is - right or wrong - generally frowned upon. Here, it was not actual evidence either, but a late discovery of a possible conflict of interest. I doubt there are any stays on the books for that kind of thing. Unfortunate but likely true.

    One last thought - again, without having read up on the situation - I assume he was actually convicted by a jury, and not the judge. Absent any clear instances where the prosecutor curried favorable, substantial rulings (such as introduction/exclusion of significant evidence) because of the relationship, the conflict probably did not impact the actual trial/conviction.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  12. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #12
    In extreme cases such as this I agree, but getting disbarred as a judge is a pretty harsh penalty.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    It really shouldn't matter. Everyone deserves a fair trial, and it's hard to say that this guy got a fair trial when the judge and the prosecutor were going at it on the down-low. If the evidence is that solid, what's the problem with giving it another go without the taint of a love affair hanging over the sentence?
     
  14. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #14
    Its a waste of money, the DNA evidence was reaffirmed and this guy murdered two people. Death penalty.
     
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #15
    I'm pretty sure you don't get the death penalty just for killing. There are some pretty tough requirements to be murdered by the state.
     
  16. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #16
    It's quite obvious across a number of threads now that you're far more interested in punishing people than you are in justice. Given the article justice has not been served nor will killing this individual serve justice.

    And again, the only thing more cowardly than killing a defenseless human being is cheerleading a defenseless human being's death.
     
  17. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #17
    This is Texas, they put the j in justice.
     
  18. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #18
    PFFFFT...
     
  19. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    The right to a fair trial is guranteed in the constitution...I think you believe in the constitution.
     
  20. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    Then make the judge and prosecutor pay for the costs of the new trial. Seems only fair, since their actions caused this problem. A little personal responsibility would be nice now and then, no?
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #21
    Theres no reason for another trial, the jury made the decision that he was guilty, not the judge. The DNA evidence was re-examined for an appeal. If you want a judge to re-examine whether the case was worthy of death I don't see too much of a problem, but its likely if he only killed two people that he did it rather maliciously to get the death penalty.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    It doesn't matter. The principle of justice is at stake here. You can't set a precedent that a prosecutor and judge can have a secret relationship, and that it is acceptable to allow such a thing to happen. If the evidence is as strong as you say it is, and the costs of the trial are borne by those who necessitated a re-trial, then there should be no reason not to make sure this is done by the book.

    Even if it didn't alter the outcome in this case, it will be cited as precedent the next time this happens, and if the precedent is that there is no recourse to another trial, that's what will likely continue to be the outcome.
     
  23. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #23
    I have to agree here. This situation stinks like 2 week old fish. And while it is very likely that the outcome won't change, I think a new trial is in order. The state should pay the cost, and the judge and prosecutor should be disbarred.
     
  24. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #24
    And well they might. They certainly have a surplus of them in juvenile jackass judges.

    "Justice" doesn't just mean beating up bad guys. It means requiring the state to prove its case immaculately. Letting the state get sloppy just because you're convinced a particular defendant doesn't deserve a fair trial jeopardizes everybody.
     
  25. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    One of the first things I learned in law school was that the law wasn't about justice, it is about correctness in regards to our legal system. Even if a law or rule is terribly wrong or has unintended consequences, everyone must follow it until changed by legislation or the SC. This made me very depressed but makes sense to lawyers (and I honestly don't know a better way either). The SCOTUS gets maybe 2000+ requests for cert and they take about 80 I think. I think they used to take up to 150 in past courts but it is essentially up to them. Even if all members of the SC believed a case was decided incorrectly and there was tremendous injustice, they probably won't grant cert. The cases they select tend to be farther reaching. They were probably thinking, what are the number of people who would be effected by this particular issue? Probably not many. Our current Court tends to take a lot of more business oriented cases. I heard that straight from the mouth of John G Roberts. I am not a fan of our current or recent SC.

    The judge though, committed no crime, so there is nothing to charge him with. I'm not sure what the State Bar Ass. could or would do. The judge could be adamant in his ability to be impartial and the Bar could agree with him. I remember Scalia was asked to recuse himself a few years back after spending a weekend vacation with Cheney (I forgot the case but it involved Cheney) and he just laughed. Of course it's not the same thing as Scalia ***** Cheney, lol.
     

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