Don’t Mess with Texas

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals suspended one of the best anti-Death penalty lawyers from practicing before them for a year. The reason? He filed late petitions. Twice in twenty years of practice.

Even by Texas Criminal Justice standards, this is amazingly cynical.

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13 thoughts on “Don’t Mess with Texas

    • Sleeping is sort of tame.
      I remember seeing one appellate case where the guy was complaining that his lawyer was making a dope deal on his cell phone during voir dire.
      Although, “It’s gonna take a lotta crack for me to represent this guy,” doesn’t exactly seem like the thing the accused would care for the jury to hear, of course, there was no violation.
      Just because your attorney is bouncing around on crack doesn’t mean the representation was inadequate.

      So much for the profession being self-policing.
      Slightly more civilized than having gladiators slice each other to death . . . maybe . . .

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      • @notme

        See the quote Chris highlighted below. I am not sure what vidictive means unless you are talking about the fact that Dow was very good at his job and the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals did not like that.

        Dow is a criminal defense lawyer. More specifically he is a Capital Defense lawyer and an Innocence protect expert. It is his job to get his clients off of death row and possibly out of prison entirely. By all accounts, he was highly diligent and very good at his job.

        It basically seems like the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals did not like that Dow was very good at his job.

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      • judges exercise arbitrarily large amounts of power for insanely petty reasons

        I’ve put quite a bit of thought into the common law immunities, and judicial immunity is certainly the worst of the lot and the one most in need of some manner of action.
        Legislative immunity seems to me to be about where it should be.
        Executive immunity is, by my reading, grounded somewhat wrongly, i.e., with the president as the analogue of the monarch rather than of the regent; though I am unable to find any particular place where this distinction might be dispositive.
        Judicial immunity, on the other hand, is way out of whack with contemporary notions of accountability in government. It was instituted to encourage use of the newly-invented appellate process (early 1600’s), and has survived as one of the longest temporary measures in all of history. Not unrelatedly, the tort of extortion first appeared some 30 years or so after the appearance of judicial immunity.
        And since. judicial immunity has grown out of all proportion to its intent or purpose.
        I fault the legislature for this. The immunity should be removed from the common law, and be well-defined by statute. Congress should exercise its oversight powers.
        Additionally, it is also the fault of the various executives. Common law immunities lie with the executive, and it is within the authority of the executive to revoke them. This is the same authority on which immunity for a witness testifying is granted by a prosecutor– that prosecutor is part of the executive branch (a prosecutor can’t be part of the judicial branch, or there would be a conflict of interest in prosecuting).
        The abuses would certainly be less were the various executives as willing to revoke judicial immunity as prosecutors are willing to grant immunity for testimony. Two very different considerations though.

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  1. When one Texas lawyer repeatedly files late and his clients die, he is deemed competent and rewarded with yet more defense work. When another Texas lawyer files late, he’s ineligible to represent his clients for a full year.

    That, to me, is the take home.

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