State Representative Lon Burnam, a Democratic legislator from Tarrant County, has filed House Resolution 480 this afternoon which would establish a Special Committee on Impeachment to consider impeaching Criminal Court of Appeals Judge Sharon Keller.
HR 480 charges Keller with:
“gross neglect of duty and conducting her official duties with willful disregard for human life.”
You'll recall that Judge Keller has made a career of sparking controversies and most certainly contributing toward the enormous black eye that the Texas Judicial system currently has. The motivation behind Burnam's Bill are the actions that Keller took in late 2007 where she refused to keep her Clerk's office open beyond 5PM in order to receive a final plea from death row inmate Michael Richards.
Burnam's release contained the following pointed quote from the legislator representing House District 90:
“It's one thing for a banker to close shop at five o'clock sharp,” Burnam, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But a public official who stands between a human being and the death chamber must be held to a higher standard.”
Shortly after the closing of the office, Mr. Richards was executed by lethal injection. This was on the same day that the United States Supreme Court had earlier questioned whether death by lethal injection was indeed constitutional. You can read a BOR outline by Scott Cobb on Keller's actions by clicking here.
Prominent publications across the state, including the Texas Monthly, have called for Keller's impeachment. Burnam has finally taken it one step farther in filing a House Resolution to do just that. Kudos to State Representative Lon Burnam for doing Justice a great service by attempting to right an incredible wrong. Keller deserves nothing less than impeachment from the bench. She is a disgrace to this state, but most certainly to the Texas legal system, and the legal profession itself.