Could there possibly be some accountability in this world?
[The state Commission on Judicial Conduct]’s executive director, Seana Willing, asked the panel to reconsider its decision to dismiss the case, which stemmed from Keller’s actions on the day Michael Wayne Richard was executed in 2007.
The three-judge panel had ruled that because the commission had instituted formal proceedings against Keller, it didn’t have the authority to issue a public warning against her.
Instead, the panel said the commission’s only choices were public censure, which is more serious than a warning; a recommendation for her removal from office or her retirement; or dismissal of the case against her.
Because of that, the panel dismissed the case. The panel, called a special court of review, had been appointed by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson to consider Keller’s appeal.
Willing, in her motion for rehearing, disagreed with the decision about the commission’s authority to issue a warning.
But if that’s the case, she said, the appropriate thing would have been for the panel to send the case back to the commission so it could choose among its more limited options.
“The commission is capable of correcting its error, and on remand can apply the correct range of censure, removal, retirement, or dismissal this Court found is available in formal proceedings,” Willing wrote.
At this point, there’s nothing about this case that isn’t unprecedented, so who the hell knows what the panel may do. Speaking strictly as a non-expert non-lawyer, I don’t generally expect anybody to change their minds in this kind of situation. I do think Willing’s filing has merit, but then I think Keller should have been booted off the bench, so take that with a gigantic grain of salt. I figure this is just a setup to dash my hopes again, so I’ll save a step and not get them up in the first place. Go ahead and tell me if you think I’m being excessively cynical. Grits has more.