Sunday, July 8, 2007

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Posts categorized "Fifth Circuit"
Friday, June 01, 2007
More Opposition to Southwick

Today's Houston Chronicle has, "Local groups oppose Bush nominee over racial slur."

A U.S. congressman, civil rights leaders and black veterans had strong words in Houston on Thursday for the Texas-born judge who is President Bush's latest nominee to the federal appeals court for Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Leslie Southwick of Mississippi is the third nominee for a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seat Bush has tried to fill since 2002. The president sent his nomination to the Senate last June.

Senate Democrats have blocked the confirmations of former U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering of Mississippi and Jackson, Miss., lawyer Mike Wallace. All three nominees are white.

Civil rights and gay rights groups and the Congressional Black Caucus oppose Southwick's nomination — as does one of the caucus's local members, Rep. Al Green, D-Houston.

"We are demanding that this nominee be withdrawn," Green said during a news conference outside Houston's federal courthouse. "We beg that the president give consideration to other persons who are capable, competent and qualified, and please Mr. President, please do not exclude minorities."

Green and others, including Mary Ramos, national civil rights director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, oppose Southwick because they say he condoned the use of a racial slur in a decade-old opinion.

While on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Southwick joined a majority decision to reinstate a white social worker who admitted calling a black colleague an offensive name.

Earlier coverage of Southwick is here and here.

Friday, June 01, 2007 at 10:10 AM in Fifth Circuit, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Fifth Circuit Nominee Leslie Southwick

Cragg Hines, the Houston Chronicle's Washington columnist has, "Senate can short-circuit assault on appeals bench."

If you liked Don Imus, you're going to love Leslie Southwick.

Fortunately, Imus has not been nominated to a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But Southwick has been.

Southwick is yet another example of President Bush's determined effort to give a seat on this important legal fulcrum to a person with a troubling record on civil rights.

The 5th Circuit is made up of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, it is the federal judicial circuit with the highest percentage of minority residents.

So it seems axiomatic that the 5th Circuit does not need a judge who appeared untroubled when a white government employe referred to an African-American co-worker as "a good ole nigger."

As a member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Southwick was in the 5-4 majority that voted to uphold the reinstatement of the white worker.

That was such an egregious decision that it was overturned unanimously — repeat, unanimously — by the Mississippi Supreme Court — repeat, Mississippi.


ometime in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate will stop considering judicial nominees of President Bush. That's the way things work.

The Democrats should begin to apply the brakes now to circuit court nominations. Southwick is as good a place as any to begin applying the brakes.

When Republicans controlled the Senate in advance of both the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections, votes on President Clinton's judicial nominees were few and far between.

Senate Judiciary chairman Leahy said last week that already this year, his panel has reported favorably 21 judicial nominees and the Senate had confirmed 18 of them — more than a Republican-controlled committee and Senate confirmed in all of 1996.

Leahy has expressed determination not to completely turn off the spigot anytime soon. He should reconsider that on a case-by-base basis.

Bush's nomination last year of Southwick to a federal district court judgeship died with the adjournment of the 109th Congress. A similar fate for 5th Circuit nomination would be appropriate.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 08:04 AM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Hear Them Now?

That's the title of an editorial in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram commenting on the Supreme Court's recent rulings in three Texas death penalty cases. LINK

f the judges of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals didn't get it before, surely they will now: A trio of Death Row inmates are entitled to new hearings because of faulty sentencing procedures.

The U.S. Supreme Court tried to make that clear in rulings issued April 26 in the cases of LaRoyce Lathair Smith, Brent Ray Brewer and Jalil Abdul-Kabir (referred to by the court as Ted Calvin Cole).

This was the second time in three years that the justices told the state court that the procedures used in Smith's case didn't allow the jury to properly consider whether he should receive a sentence of life in prison instead of death.

The justices had sent Smith's case back for a new hearing in 2004, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found a state-law reason to deny him a resentencing.

Though that ruling was written by the meticulous Judge Cathy Cochran, it seemed to defy the Supreme Court's instructions. Compounding that perception, Judge Barbara Hervey wrote in a concurrence that "we are not bound by the view" that the Supreme Court earlier expressed finding fault with a jury instruction used in Smith's case.

In last Wednesday's majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy referred to the Court of Criminal Appeals' "misinterpretation of federal law," its "confusion" about Supreme Court precedents and its "error" in setting up impossible hurdles for Smith. And to underscore the point, he wrote: "The Court of Criminal Appeals is, of course, required to defer to our finding" in the case.


There are enough continuing problems with Texas' administration of capital punishment that this editorial board has for seven years supported a moratorium on executions.

If the death penalty system is going to have credibility, all defendants must be given fair consideration of whether, given all the circumstances, they should receive the ultimate penalty.

More on the rulings is here, here, and here. The Supreme Court category index is here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 at 11:12 AM in Editorial, Fifth Circuit, Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
New Nominee for Fifth Circuit - UPDATED

Friday's Houston Chronicle has, "Bush names Judge Elrod to 5th Circuit Court of Appeals."

Howard Bashman reports:

President Bush has nominated Jennifer Walker Elrod to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: Currently, Elrod serves as a state district judge in Houston. She has been nominated to fill the vacancy created when Circuit Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham took senior status.

Here is her brief bio from the Baylor Line:

Jennifer Walker Elrod '88 is judge of the 190th District Court in Houston. Following her victory in a contested primary for a vacant bench, Governor Rick Perry appointed Elrod to the position. She is unopposed in the November election.

Elrod graduated from Baylor magna cum laude, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Honors Program. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was senior editor of the Journal of Law and Public Policy. She completed a two-year federal clerkship before joining the law firm of Baker Botts. Honored for her pro bono work by Baker Botts, she also received awards from the Houston Bar Association and Houston Young Lawyers Association.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 02:55 PM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Johnny Ray Conner

The Houston Chronicle has, "Appeals court throws out order for new trial."

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled a lower-court order that would have given a Houston man convicted of capital murder a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore ordered a new trial in 2005 after attorneys for Johnny Ray Conner successfully argued his trial lawyers should have sought medical evidence showing he had a limp that would have kept him from running from the scene.

Gilmore noted that witnesses "agreed that the gunman ran fast for several blocks."

But in reversing the decision, the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court panel said, "Conner has done nothing to lessen the impact of the other evidence against him, including his fingerprints on a bottle near the register of the grocery store and his identification by three witnesses, including one whom he had just shot."

The judges, whose decision was released Monday, said the trial did not include any testimony about his limp and that neither of his attorneys noticed he had a limp.

The three-judge panel included Judges Benavides, Stewart, and Wiener. Judge Stewart wrote the Court's opinion.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 10:16 AM in Fifth Circuit, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Nomination of Controversial Fifth Circuit Nominee Withdrawn

Michael Wallace, a controversial Bush nominee to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, has asked that his nomination be withdrawn. An AP report is available via LINK

In a concession to the Senate's new Democratic majority, President Bush won't rename four controversial federal appeals court nominees whose confirmations were blocked last year, Republican officials said last week.

William Haynes, William G. Myers III and Michael Wallace all asked to have their appointments withdrawn, these officials said. Judge Terrence Boyle was informed of the White House's decision, according to an ally.


Wallace's appointment to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals drew opposition from Democrats, civil rights groups and the American Bar Association.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has said only "consensus nominees" are likely to win confirmation under the new Democratic majority -- a declaration that effectively doomed the chances for the four men whose appointments were left in limbo when the Senate adjourned last year for the elections.

Deputy White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president was disappointed about the withdrawals.

The Biloxi Sun Herald reports a new nomination by President Bush to the Fifth Circuit. LINK

President Bush nominated former Mississippi Appeals Court Judge Leslie Southwick to an open seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, R-Miss., said that Southwick is Bush's choice for the New Orleans-based court. The federal appeals court hears cases from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The nomination must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate.


"Leslie is extremely well qualified for this position, and I hope his nomination will move quickly throughout the Judiciary Committee without any significant delays," Cochran said in a statement. "He will be a fair and thoughtful federal judge, and our state will benefit from his leadership and knowledge of the law."

Southwick, a Mississippi appeals judge from 1995 until this year, confirmed the nomination from Jackson, but declined to comment further, saying he needs to "let the process run its course."

Bush had nominated Southwick last year to a U.S. District Court judgeship in Mississippi. The nomination had approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee but hadn't been considered by the Senate.

"It's very important that our state have a presence on this key federal court," Lott said in a statement. "Given his educational qualifications and prior judicial experience, I'm confident that Judge Southwick will serve the 5th Circuit with distinction."

Southwick is a native of Texas and three-decade resident of Mississippi. He studied law at the University of Texas. While on the state appeals court, he took a military leave of absence to serve in Iraq.

Southwick's name was on a list of potential nominees for an open seat that has been difficult to fill by Bush.

A hat tip to Howard Bashman at How Appealing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 12:07 PM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
More on Nelson v. Quarterman

Karl Keys has must-read commentary on yesterday's ruling by the Fifth Circuit granting habeas relief in the above styled case. LINK Karl's opening paragraph:

In perhaps the most important Fifth Circuit decision since I started posting online a decade ago, the Fifth Circuit en banc holds 9-7 on Penry & the nature of the Texas special question scheme — Billy Ray Nelson v. Quarterman. The lead opinion of Judge Carl Stewart is among the best dissections of Fifth Circuit & SCOTUS capital sentencing law I have seen. Judge Dennis’s pointed concurrence is a great read for his openness & judicial modesty in admitting he has made mistake.

Yesterday's post with a link to the opinions is here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 at 09:59 AM in Fifth Circuit, Habeas, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Nelson v. Quarterman

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in Nelson v. Quarterman. The opinions are here., and there is some vigorous writing with a concurrence and dissents. This is a case in which the Supreme Court vacated an earlier ruling by the Fifth Circuit and sent it back. Now the Fifth Circuit, after en banc consideration, has granted habeas relief. At issue was the jury instruction over the consideration of mitigation.

From the opinion:

At the time that Nelson’s conviction became final, the Supreme Court had clearly established that the relevant inquiry is whether there was a reasonable likelihood that the jury would interpret the Texas special issues in a manner that precluded it from fully considering and giving full effect to all of the defendant’s mitigating evidence. For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury was precluded from giving full consideration and full effect to Nelson’s mitigating evidence via the Texas special issues; therefore the state court’s determination that the special issues were constitutional as applied to Nelson’s case was unreasonable. Accordingly, we REVERSE the district court’s denial of habeas relief and REMAND with instructions to grant the writ of habeas corpus.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 01:29 PM in Fifth Circuit, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, November 20, 2006
Man Still Awaits Justice

That's the title of an article in the Clute newspaper The Facts about the case of Virgil Martinez. A federal judge has ordered a new sentencing hearing due to the lack of mitigation evidence presented in the original trial. That order has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by the Texas Attorney General's Office. LINK

Monday, November 20, 2006 at 11:07 AM in Fifth Circuit, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Bush Renominates Judicial Picks

That's the headline of an article in today's Washington Post. One of the controversial nominees is for the Fifth Circuit, which hears Texas cases. Current Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Spector makes clear that the nominees will not be considered in the current lame duck Senate session. LINK

Judgeships have been a priority for conservatives and a major flashpoint between Bush and congressional Democrats. A group of centrist senators from both parties last year brokered a truce in the nomination war and Bush secured confirmation for two Supreme Court nominees, John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. In his final days on the campaign trail, Bush warned supporters that a Democratic Senate would never have confirmed Roberts or Alito and would stonewall future nominations.

Now he appears ready to test that proposition. None of the six nominees resubmitted yesterday received a Senate floor vote: Michael B. Wallace for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; William J. Haynes II and Terrence W. Boyle Jr. for the 4th Circuit; William G. Myers III and Norman Randy Smith for the 9th Circuit; and Peter D. Keisler for the D.C. Circuit.


Four of the previously blocked nominees were criticized as unqualified or too conservative. One of the others ran into objections from California senators who did not want his seat moved to Idaho and the last was stalled by assertions that the caseload on his circuit did not justify another judge. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said Tuesday that he would not move the nominations during the lame-duck session.

Elliot Mincberg, legal director of the liberal People for the American Way, said: "This is a disturbing sign . . . in terms of Bush trying to reach out for genuine consultation and consensus. But even more important will be what he does in January. If he takes the same tack in January, then he signals that he wants confrontation."

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 04:38 PM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Election Results Could Temper Bush's 5th Circuit Picks

That's the title of an article in Texas Lawyer about the next two years of nominations to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit has been criticized in recent years by the U.S. Supreme Court over its review of death penalty cases. LINK

With the change in the Senate giving Democrats more power to block judicial nominees, the question is whether the president will moderate his choices for the 5th Circuit — a court where Bush nominees have provoked ideological battles between Senate Democrats and Republicans. The nominations of Pickering and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen provoked filibusters on the Senate floor, and both waited years before they were eventually seated on the court.

But the time has passed for Senate floor fights, and Bush must stay away from controversial nominees if he wants to continue filling important federal benches by the end of his term, three Texas lawyers say.

"It's the decision he has got to make: Does he want the courts to get their work done, or does he want to use the courts as a way to manipulate the voters?" says Susan Hays, a Dallas solo and former chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party. Hays believes calculated fights over judicial nominees and their ideologies have been used to bring people to the polls to support one party or the other.

Monday, November 13, 2006 at 09:59 AM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Super-Bad Bush Nominees Get a Needless Day in Court

That's the title of Cragg Hines' column in today's Houston Chronicle. Hines, the paper's Washington, D.C. based columnist, reports on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on two federal court nominees, including one nominated for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. LINK

As afternoon moved toward evening, it became clear that one purpose of the hearing was to allow Republican members to beat up on the ABA for daring to buck even a couple of Bush nominees. This was a preoccupation of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in his loaded softballs.

Unfortunately, one of the nominees is for a vacancy on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. That's the federal appeals circuit, according to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, with the highest percentage of minority residents.

So, naturally, Bush has nominated a lawyer with a career-long antipathy to such basic civil rights touchstones as the Voting Rights Act and single-member districts.

It's sort of a sick joke, but it's also perversely real. Bush wants this guy to have a lifetime seat on a court that remains an important gatekeeper in the world of civil rights litigation.

The superbly unsuited nominee is Michael B. Wallace, a politically well-connected Jackson, Miss., attorney.

He might be the only appeals circuit nominee who has received a unanimous "not qualified" rating from the ABA's standing committee on the federal judiciary. No one can recall another.

After two separate ABA inquiries into Wallace's nomination earlier this year, the bar committee came up with the same conclusion: Wallace, while of the "highest professional competence," lacks a judicial temperament and a commitment to equal justice.

Wallace's rating is hard to come by. Of the 90 Bush judicial nominations that the ABA committee has rated in the current, 109th Congress, only Wallace received a unanimous "not qualified" rating. Twice — after he was nominated in February, and then when, because of procedural rules, he was nominated again earlier this month.

With the changing committee membership over the year, Leahy pointed out, 21 different members of the ABA panel have rated Wallace. "None found him to be qualified," Leahy said.

The ABA committee is not, as some Republicans seek to paint it, an ideologically driven panel. Almost half of Bush's nominees in this term have received a unanimous rating of "well qualified."

Only three other nominees have been rated as "not qualified" by what the committee calls a "substantial majority" (with a minority rating them qualified).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 09:50 AM in ABA, Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Judges Extend Rights to Noncitizens

That's the title of an article in today's Houston Chronicle. It reports the decision by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow a lawsuit filed by a Mexican citizen against a Border Patrol agent in El Paso to proceed. LINK

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in an El Paso case that noncitizens have a constitutional right to be free from false imprisonment and the use of excessive force by law enforcement personnel.

The ruling by a three-judge panel extends Fourth Amendment rights to noncitizens throughout the 5th Circuit, which includes Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, said Suyash Agrawal, attorney with the Susman Godfrey law firm.

"Because this is the first court of appeals in the United States to deal with this issue, this is likely to be a persuasive authority," Agrawal said.

Although it has long been understood that noncitizens have constitutional rights, it is equally understood that they do not have all the rights afforded U.S. citizens, said Charles "Rocky"Rhodes, professor of constitutional law at South Texas College of Law.

The opinion, by Judge Jerry Smith, is here. The panel also included Judges Weiner and Stewart. The case is Martinez-Aguero vs. Gonzalez.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 at 09:48 AM in Fifth Circuit, Foreign Citizen, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Saturday, August 05, 2006
New Sentencing Trial for Texas Death Row Inmate

The Odessa American has a story on the new sentencing trial previously ordered for Michael Dean Gonzales. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied his habeas petition which raised claims that prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel at his capital murder trial.

The Odessa American story is here.

Not at issue before the Fifth Circuit was a federal district court's earlier order that Gonzales receive a new sentencing trial because of racist testimony by the state's expert witness.

The pertinent paragraph is on page 7 of the circuit court's decision:

Gonzales filed a supplemental petition in August, 2000, asserting that the State’s psychological expert witness testified, unconstitutionally, that race is an indicator of future dangerousness. The State conceded that this claim is valid and entitled Gonzales to a new sentencing hearing. The district court so ordered, and neither party has appealed its ruling on this point.

This is from the Odessa American story; the person quoted is Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland (presumably no relation to the legendary soul singer Bobby Blue Bland):

Bland said that it’s his understanding that the penalty phase of the trial was overturned because of a faulty witness in the case handled by a previous district attorney.

“My understanding was that we had an expert witness who’d been called in to witness on other cases, and his testimony created some problems in the cases, because there were comments on race,” Bland said. “In our case, I don’t think he testified that way.”

On June 11, 2000, then-State Attorney General John Cornyn announced six convicted killers, including Gonzales, would likely have their death sentences overturned. The U.S. Supreme Court found that psychologist Walter Qijano was racially biased in his testimony in the case of Victor Saldano. Qijano had also testified as an expert witness in Gonzales’ case.

Actually, that understates Cornyn's role. The state's expert psychologist, Quijano, had testified in six separate cases that being Hispanic was an aggravating factor, and for that reason the Hispanic men would represent a future danger and that the death penalty was the appropriate punishment. In a rare move, the Attorney General announced that he would not defend such blatantly racist testimony.

It was a courageous stand that drew opposition from some Texas district attorneys. Unfortunately, as the junior U.S. Senator, Cornyn has stood with a handful of Republicans in the House and Senate over the past year who have repeatedly attempted to severely limit federal court review of state death penalty convictions. Yesterday, the Ohio Death Penalty Information blog had this post noting Cornyn's latest attempt to put such language in a bill designed for judicial security. LINK

Saturday, August 05, 2006 at 06:21 PM in Fifth Circuit, Race, Specific Case | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The Anthony Graves Case

One of the most controversial Texas death row cases involves Anthony Graves. Earlier this year a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Graves due to prosecutorial misconduct in his original trial. Today's Houston Chronicle reports that Texas is appealing that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court LINK

In a last-ditch effort to avoid giving death row inmate Anthony Graves a new trial, state attorneys are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that the prosecution withheld vital evidence during his 1994 trial.

The petition from the Texas Attorney General's Office will not push back the Sept. 12 deadline for a new trial, said Graves' attorney, Jay W. Burnett of Houston.

Graves has always protested his innocence. Another individual who was convicted of the crime, Robert Carter, initially implicated Graves, but before Carter was executed Carter told authorities that Graves was not involved.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 at 09:18 AM in Fifth Circuit, Specific Case, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Andrew Cohen on the Fifth Circuit

Andrew Cohen is CBS News' legal analyst and a Washington Post blogger. This evening he has a must read post on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, its latest opinion that will cause many to furrow their brows, and the past criticism it has received for its review of Texas death penalty cases. LINK

If ultimately the Supreme Court puts a temporary end to the use of the death penalty in this country-- no, I'm neither predicting that or endorsing it-- no doubt it will be in part because of silly rulings like this one by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which by a 2-1 vote yesterday refused to hear a condemned man's reasonable appeal on its merits. This is the same appellate court that has in the past shown a remarkably pointed disdain for its superiors in Washington and I would be very surprised if the Justices don't once again get involved to protect a defendant's constitutional rights from the cramped ruling of this stubborn lower court.


The 5th Circuit has again snubbed the Supreme Court. It has once again afforded the Justices with an opportunity to shape death penalty law in a way that allows better procedural rights for defendants. When will these lower court judges learn that their narrow views in these cases ultimately end up broadening the law?

Thanks to Talk Left for picking this up.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 10:16 PM in Fifth Circuit | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The StandDown Texas Project

The StandDown Texas Project was organized in 2000 to advocate a moratorium on executions and a state-sponsored review of Texas' application of the death penalty. To stand down is to go off duty temporarily, especially to review safety procedures.

Steve Hall

Project Director Steve Hall was chief of staff to the Attorney General of Texas from 1983-1991; he was an administrator of the Texas Resource Center from 1993-1995. He has worked for the U.S. Congress and several Texas legislators. Hall is a former journalist.

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* Constitution Project - Mandatory Justice Revisited - 2006
* DPIC - 2005 Year End Report
* HRW - So Long As They Die: Lethal Injections in the United States - 2006
* Illinois Governor's Commission on Capital Punishment - 2002
* Illinois Pilot Program on Eyewitness Identification Program - 2006
* Innocence Project Arson Report - Todd Willingham case
* State Bar of Texas Guidelines & Standards for Texas Capital Cases
* TDS - Minimizing Risk - 2005
* Texas Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council - January 2006


Joan Cheever: Back From the Dead

Joan Cheever: Back From the Dead (*****)
Kerry Max Cook: Chasing Justice

Kerry Max Cook: Chasing Justice
Matthew Robinson: Death Nation: The Experts Explain American Capital Punishment

Matthew Robinson: Death Nation: The Experts Explain American Capital Punishment
David Dow: Executed on a Technicality

David Dow: Executed on a Technicality (*****)
Charles Ogletree & Austin Sarat: From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State

Charles Ogletree & Austin Sarat: From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State (*****)
Susan F. Hirsch: In the Moment of Greatest Calamity

Susan F. Hirsch: In the Moment of Greatest Calamity
David Feige: Indefensible

David Feige: Indefensible (*****)
Scott Christianson: Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases

Scott Christianson: Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases
Mike Farrell: Just Call Me Mike

Mike Farrell: Just Call Me Mike
Jan Crawford Greenburg: Supreme Conflict

Jan Crawford Greenburg: Supreme Conflict
Thomas Geoghegan: The Law in Shambles

Thomas Geoghegan: The Law in Shambles (*****)
Scott Turow: The Ultimate Punishment

Scott Turow: The Ultimate Punishment (*****)
Bloodsworth: Tim Junkin

Bloodsworth: Tim Junkin
James Doyle: True Witness

James Doyle: True Witness (*****)
Carroll Pickett: Within These Walls

Carroll Pickett: Within These Walls (*****)

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June 2007
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Recent Posts

* Argentine Loses Another Appeal to Get Off Death Row
* Execution
* Four Justices Often Side with the Condemned
* Witness and Action: Faith Communities Respond to the Death Penalty in Texas
* CCA Tosses Second Yogurt Shop Murder Conviction
* Cruel Reality: The Innocent Are Sometimes Convicted
* Scheduled Execution
* Death to Child Rapists?
* Lethal Injections Upheld in Missouri
* Uttecht v. Brown


* June 2007
* May 2007
* April 2007
* March 2007
* February 2007
* January 2007
* December 2006
* November 2006
* October 2006
* September 2006

StandDown Archives

* August 2004 - January 2005
* January 2005 - May 17, 2006 - Not yet recovered

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