Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Texas appeals court stop scheduled execution

Associated Press is reporting that Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stayed tomorrow's scheduled execution of Charles Hood.
A Texas death row inmate whose lawyers argued a secret romantic relationship between the judge and prosecutor at his trial tainted the proceedings 19 years ago won a reprieve Tuesday from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that blocked his lethal injection set for the following day.

The state's highest criminal court, however, stopped Charles Dean Hood's execution not because of the alleged affair between retired Judge Verla Sue Holland and former Collin County District Attorney Tom O'Connell, but because of what it said were "developments in the law regarding (jury) nullification instructions."

The Austin-based court, where Holland once served as a judge after her stint as a district judge in the suburban Dallas county, said it would be "prudent to reconsider the decision we issued" in previously dismissing Hood's appeal that challenged jury instructions.

At the same time, the court dismissed claims Hood's attorneys filed that he was denied a fair trial because of what would be a legally unethical relationship between Holland and O'Connell and arguments that Hood's execution set for Wednesday would twice put his life in jeopardy.

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