Texas Court of Criminal Appeals soils itself again

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals soiled itself again after its recent shameful refusal to find Dan and Frances Keller innocent of sexually assaulting children during satanic rituals in their Austin day care center case despite not a shred of physical evidence to support the fantastical false allegations. I wrote about the Keller case here.

This time they suspended David Dow from practicing in their court for a year for missing a deadline that he did not miss. He is the founder of the Texas Innocence Network and the leading death penalty lawyer in the state. Wrongfully convicted innocent clients on death row are depending on him to save their lives. He’s the best shot they have.

Mimi Schwartz of the Texas Monthly describes what happened.

It isn’t easy to get a stay of execution; attorneys have to present the court with a substantial amount of information to win a delay, much less a new trial. For instance, in September 2014 Dow began looking into the case of Miguel Paredes, who was sent to death row for a gang-related killing in 2001. Paredes’s execution date was set for October 28, 2014. In the 39 days before the execution, Dow’s team—which was working on three other death penalty cases at the time—traveled to San Antonio (where Paredes grew up and the crime was committed) and to Livingston (where he was incarcerated in the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice). They searched for additional witnesses. They scoured Paredes’s medical, psychological, school, and prison records. They pored over the trial transcript. In doing so, they uncovered what Paredes’s lawyer had not: evidence that the killing was actually in self-defense. Dow’s team also found that Paredes had a history of mental illness and that the state had put him on powerful psychotropic medication during his trial. The jury hadn’t known any of this, and during the punishment phase, Paredes, drugged and hopeless, instructed his lawyer to waive his right to present mitigating circumstances that might spare his life.

Eleventh-hour appeals—the kind you see in the movies—no longer happen. The CCA needs time to evaluate the record and any new information. Dow filed all of his pleadings in Paredes’s case by 6:30 p.m. on October 21, 2014, in compliance with rule 11-003, which says that pleadings requesting a stay must be filed seven days before an execution date. The judges took exactly two days to deny Dow’s motion. Paredes was put to death, right on schedule.

In November, however, the CCA sent a notice to Dow asking him to appear in court on January 14 to explain why he should not be sanctioned for filing Paredes’s documents late. Dow found this mystifying; he had filed his plea after-hours on October 21, but late filings on death penalty cases are actually fairly routine. There is even a part of the rule that addresses it, which Dow had followed, explaining in his motion that he was still gathering evidence even at that late date to try to save Paredes’s life.

Dow appeared at the hearing without counsel. He explained again why the filing had been late, even though it really hadn’t been. (Instead of relying on the rule itself, the judges seemed to be claiming that Dow had been late according to an example described in the rule, which seemed to suggest that pleadings should be filed eight, not seven, days before: “For example, a request for a stay of execution filed at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning when the execution is scheduled for the following Wednesday at 6 p.m. is untimely.”)

He has appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. God only knows what that puzzle palace will do.


8 Responses to Texas Court of Criminal Appeals soils itself again

  1. girlp says:

    Why is there a statute of limitations on child molestation…Josh Duggar needed real help as a kid, the family should have been investigated the victims given help….instead everything is covered up until someone reveals what happen to Ophrah Winfrey…then a pedofile councels the youth. Between Texas and the quiverfill or full this religious culture is pretty effed up.

  2. girlp says:

    This whole satanic thing is insane….be realistice people.

  3. Malisha says:

    To me, it seems pretty clear that what the Appeals Court wants to do is eliminate this lawyer so they don’t have to deal with his crap any more. When they want to kill somebody, they want to KILL him, not listen to a song and dance about why they should spare his life. If they let lawyers who will work this hard to save someone keep practicing, they have to at least pretend to read their work. If they make it impossible for lawyers like Dow to practice, they have less work to do and they can get more “confirmed kills.” It’s disgusting but it’s pretty transparent.

    We should really look at the society we live in: it is murderous, misogynist, racist, dishonest, and quite possibly unredeemable.

    • Malisha says:

      And something else occurs to me about the insane Keller case. Prosecutors actually prefer prosecuting day-care providers than relatives, for sexual abuse of children, although the evidence very strongly shows that most sexual abuse of children takes place NOT within day-care environments but within the children’s homes. Just as one big day-care satanic case (gone wrong) will make a thousand incest cases look fake when they are not, some very prominent psycho-prosecutions (McMartin in California, Country Walk in Florida) start with children who have behavior problems and who have been involved in nasty divorces. It always seemed possible to me that the catalyst-children’s disclosures were deflected off their real abusers (within the family) and onto the day-care targets (who were then prosecuted within an inch of their lives) because the children were afraid to accuse parents in the midst of family turmoil. The children themselves could easily come to believe that their torment was a result of the “bad” day-care workers rather than the “good” parents whose love they desperately need to preserve for their own self-esteem.

      Normally, normal children do not make up insane stories of abuse and degradation. Children who have been subjected to abuse and terror within an unstable family situation, however, can do so if it is less threatening to them than the truth would be. And prosecutors, often willing to do wrong “for the greater good,” may join with truly freaked-out parents to tread on defendants’ rights in the name of “stamping out crime.” Prosecutorial misconduct is almost NEVER punished.

      I will bet that the initial allegations of abuse against the Kellers were caused by actual abuse within the victim children’s families.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I’ve heard about a few cases in which people have been falsely accused of sexual molestation when the actual culprit was a parent.

      And dang, USA – the death penalty is so old world that most of the old world doesn’t even do it any more. Some people seem to get a real thrill out of it, although studies and hard experience show that most people who want it and who participate in it, such as wardens – don’t find the peace or closure they were seeking. No surprise. State-sanctioned murder can’t possibly solve anything.

  4. Rev Bev says:

    Thank you for the update. The man is an icon, a saint, a hero, and mentor to so many who need training/guidance. TX should be ashamed, but the sins are so multiple….most, I would say, love the death penalty…..so sad.

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