Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2009/09/17 11:22
A Texas death row inmate won't be able to argue for a new trial, despite admissions of an affair between his trial judge and the prosecutor, a court announced Wednesday.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 6-3 that convicted murderer Charles Dean Hood should have raised concerns about the affair between the now retired court officials in earlier appeals. The ruling overturned a lower court's recommendation that Hood be able to make his case for a new trial based on the affair.
"Our argument is that they had this information and should have raised it in the earlier writ," said current prosecutor John Rolater, the chief of Collin County's appellate division. "We consider this a significant success for the state."
Hood's attorneys said in a statement that the affair led to a tainted trial and "obvious and outrageous violations" of Hood's constitutional rights. The ruling will "only add to the perception that justice is skewed in Texas," said Andrea Keilen, of the Texas Defender Service.
The rejection from the state's highest criminal appeals court means a future appeal on the same grounds must go to the U.S. Supreme Court.