Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Death sentence reversed in Hood case

Charles Dean Hood's date with the executioner has been cancelled as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his death sentence. Ironically enough, the Court made no mention of the affair between the judge, Verla Sue Holland, and the prosecutor, Tom O'Connell.

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.

See also:

"Court throws out death penalty for Texas man" New York Times (Feb. 24, 2010)

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