The Court, instead, based its decision on mitigation evidence that Mr. Hood was not allowed to present to the jury during the punishment phase of his trial. The evidence in question raises the possibility that Mr. Hood was abused as a child.
The decision does not vacate the conviction, however, and Mr. Hood continues to maintain his innocence.
While the Court will always attempt to make its decisions on the narrowest of grounds, to ignore the relationship between the judge and the prosecutor smacks of protecting the robe. To be certain, Mr. Hood is no longer under the threat of death, but the question still remains whether or not he is innocent.
The Court's decision to ignore the elephant in the room does short shrift to justice.
"Court throws out death penalty for Texas man" New York Times (Feb. 24, 2010)
"New punishment hearing ordered for Texas death row inmate Charles Dean Hood" Dallas Morning News (Feb. 24, 2010)