Sharon Keller, presiding judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, was barely, barely punished in connection with a famous incident where she told lawyers trying to file appeals for a Death Row inmate "We close at 5." Hours later, the man was executed.
She received a "public warning" from the Judicial Conduct Commission, which is about as weak a response as they could come up with. (On the other hand, she did win one of our coveted Turkey of the Year awards for her efforts.)
Keller had been perceived to be in big trouble. Texas Monthly's Paul Burka wrote at one point:
Keller has three choices: resign, be removed by the Commission, or be impeached. The odds against her serving out her term, which expires in 2012, are astronomical.
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Instead she got slapped on the wrist so lightly she hardly noticed. Still, she appealed.
The whole thing was unconstitutional, her lawyers claimed.
To which the state Supreme Court this morning said, "not so much." Without comment, they upheld the (semi-hemi-demi-)sanction, meaning Keller has to live forever with this tiny blot on her record.
We can only hope she finds a way to live with it. Unlike that guy whose lawyers were trying to file papers for him a little after 5 p.m.