Death sentence upheld despite judge-prosecutor affair
WASHINGTON (AFP) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of a Texas man who learned after being sentenced to death that the prosecutor and judge at his murder trial were having an affair.
The highest US court declined to intervene in the case of Charles Dean Hood, 40, who filed a petition in the case last September.
Hood was convicted in 1990 of a notorious double murder carried out the year before. His execution has been delayed five times over the years amid various appeals.
He filed his most recent pleading to the Supreme Court upon learning of the affair between judge Verla Sue Holland and prosecutor Thomas O’Connell.
His attorneys expressed disappointment Monday with the court ruling, calling it a “fundamental injustice.”
“We are disheartened that the United States Supreme Court ruled not to hear the case of Charles Hood in which the trial judge and district attorney who prosecuted Hood engaged in a secret, long-term, extra-marital affair,” the condemned man’s lawyers said in a statement.
They added that “dozens of former state and federal prosecutors and judges and the nation’s leading legal ethicists have criticized the handling of this case by the Texas death penalty system.”
“No one should be prosecuted for a parking ticket, let alone for capital murder, by the district attorney who has had a sexual affair with the judge handling the case,” the lawyers said.