The misconduct trial of a Texas judge who refused to keep her court open for lawyers trying to stop an execution that night ended Thursday with her attorneys insisting she did nothing wrong.
Judge Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, watched from her defense table while her attorney denounced accusations that she closed her court to death-row inmate Michael Wayne Richard as meritless and outrageous.
"Judge Keller didn't close the court to anybody," said Chip Babcock, Keller's attorney. "Michael Richard's lawyers never knocked on the right doors and they gave up."
Mocked as "Sharon Killer" by her detractors, Keller could be removed from the bench if the five judicial misconduct charges against her are upheld. At the heart of the charges is whether Keller denied Richard the ability to file a late appeal in the hours before his Sept. 25, 2007 execution.
Babcock's closing presentation, at times theatrical, was delivered as forcefully as Keller's unrepentant testimony earlier in the trial. He ended by going after those he said helped put the career of the state's highest criminal appeals judge in jeopardy: death-penalty critics.