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Judge Puts His Controversial Death-Penalty Ruling On Hold

Harris County's controversial district judge Kevin Fine, who got headlines across the Net with his ruling last week that the Texas death penalty was unconstitutional, has backed off a bit.

Media reports say he announced today that he's rescinding the ruling, but instead will schedule a hearing so attorneys can argue the issue out.

Fine had shocked everyone when he granted a pre-trial motion -- a standard motion always rejected by judges -- that said the death penalty was unconstitutional. Fine, who has gained notoriety for his troubled, drug-addicted past before he became a judge, and for his admittedly ill-thought-out comments once he took the bench, said the state had executed innocent people.

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The hearing is set for April 27. As was the case before today's action, there's little chance the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would uphold any ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

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