Death Sentence Tarnished By Conflict of Interest
Charles Hood will be executed on Tuesday unless a court or Texas Gov. Rick Perry acts to prevent his death. In light of allegations of a blatant conflict of interest on the part of the judge who presided over Hood's trial, the execution should be stayed or the death sentence should be commuted.
Lawyers for a Texas inmate facing execution next week filed court papers on Thursday accusing the judge at his double-murder trial of having an affair with the prosecutor. The papers, filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, argue that the relationship between the judge, Verla Sue Holland, and the man who was district attorney of Collin County, Tom O’Connell, should nullify the conviction of the inmate, Charles Hood, in 1990. …
The petitions include an affidavit from a former assistant district attorney, Matthew Goeller, who said that the six-year relationship between Judge Holland and Mr. O’Connell was “common knowledge” and that it raised “reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially.”
Even supporters of the death penalty should agree that nobody should be sentenced to death by a judge who is sleeping with the prosecutor.