Michael Lowe is Celebrating Over 20 YEARS of Service

Learn More

Behind Closed Doors, Things Heating Up For CCA Chief Justice Sharon Keller

While the chief justice of the highest criminal court in the State of Texas continues her work from the bench, it appears that lots of other folk are working hard behind the scenes, too — especially now that we’ve got the findings from Judge David Berchelmann for everyone to view.

Tomorrow would have been the deadline for the “examiners” (those in the role of prosecutor when the proceedings are involving a setting judge being investigating for possible removal by the Judicial Commission) to file any challenges that they might have to Judge Berchelmann’s determinations.  They could have quietly let that deadline just float on by, letting their silence speak. 

But noooooo.  The examiners have formally requested an extension of time within which to file their response, and they’ve been given a new deadline of February 17, 2010.  (The Commission’s short, one page order doesn’t provide any details, just the new date.) 

What does this mean?  It means that the examiners/prosecutors are preparing some objections to Judge Berchelmann’s findings.  There’s simply no other good reason to ask for more time. 

Even more telling, it’s been told to the media that Chip Babcock, attorney for Justice Keller, is going to be filing responses to Berchelmann’s work (under this new deadline, he requested an extension as well) on behalf of Justice Keller.

Paper Fight! Paper Fight!

Which boils down to this:  lots is happening behind closed doors regarding the fate of Chief Justice Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.   When will the public get a glimpse into all this?  Well, the filings that are due on February 17th will be made public, and all the arguments in the paper fight will be made known.  (Everything filed of record with the Commission is placed online, in .pdf format.)

Public Hearing

As for a public hearing of the Commission’s efforts, that is required under the law and should be held before the Commissioners with both the examiners and Chip Babcock making their oral arguments (as already identified in their paperwork).  Judge Berchelmann remains the fact finder, if the Commissioners want more fact-finding, things will go back down to San Antonio (where he presides over a state district court in Bexar County). 

Otherwise, things will go back behind closed doors after that public hearing as the Commissioners debate what to do about Justice Keller.  They will have three options:  (1) remove her from elected office; (2) dismiss the charges against her; or (3) reprimand her (she gets cited as doing something bad, but keeps her job).

And, just so you know, these 13 Commissioners that will be judging the Chief Justice are:

Chair
Mr. Jorge C. Rangel
Attorney
Corpus Christi
Appointed by State Bar of Texas
Term Expires: 11/19/2011

Vice-Chair
Hon. Jan P. Patterson
Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals
Austin
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2013

Secretary
Ms. Janelle Shepard
Public Member
Weatherford
Appointed by Governor
Term Expires: 11/19/2011

Members
Hon. Sid Harle
Judge, 226th District Court
San Antonio
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2011

Ms. Ann Appling Bradford
Public Member, Midland
Appointed by Governor
Term Expires: 11/19/2009

Hon. Michael R. Fields
Judge, County Criminal Court at Law #4
Houston
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2009

Hon. Tom Lawrence
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4
Humble
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2009

Mr. Tom Cunningham
Attorney, Houston
Appointed by State Bar of Texas
Term Expires: 11/19/2013

Mr. William “Bill” Lawrence
Public Member
Highland Village
Appointed by Governor
Term Expires: 11/19/2009

Ms. Karry K. Matson
Public Member, Georgetown
Appointed by Governor
Term Expires: 11/19/2013

Ms. Patti H. Johnson
Public Member, Canyon Lake
Appointed by Governor
Term Expires: 11/19/2011

Hon. Joel Baker
Judge, Smith County Court, Tyler
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2011

Hon. Edward J. Spillane, III
Judge, College Station Municipal Court
Appointed by Texas Supreme Court
Term Expires: 11/19/2015


Comments are welcomed here and I will respond to you -- but please, no requests for personal legal advice here and nothing that's promoting your business or product. Comments are moderated and these will not be published.