Judge Kevin Fine Back In The Spotlight With Death-Penalty Hearing

Harris County has long been known as the death-penalty capital of the United States, and the court system will be back in the spotlight this morning.

Except this time it will be for the oddity of a judge who considers the death penalty, as it's applied in Texas, to be unconstitutional.

District Judge Kevin Fine will conduct a hearing, expected to last well past today, to look at issues in the case of John Edward Green, accused of killing a woman and wounding her sister during a 2008 robbery. He says he's innocent,.

While much of the hearing will deal with the specifics of Green's case, the hearing has taken on a bigger meaning since Fine shocked the state this year when he ruled capital punishment in Texas to be unconstitutional.

He backtracked from that after a storm of controversy and scheduled the hearing that begins this morning.

Fine isn't giving out interviews, although he was not shy with the press when he took the bench in 2008's Democratic wave, with his tattoos and drub-abuser past.

As far as we can tell, the last time he talked to reporters was when he talked to us and eventually gave a statement about how he had questioned whether a woman was raped because she had been "on top" during the sex act.

"The manner in which I went about garnering answers to my questions that I had, and that I needed answered prior to assessing appropriate punishment for the defendant, was incorrect," he said. "I should not have gone about it in the manner in which I went about it."

With the spotlight back on him this week, we're guessing he will be more careful.

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