Charles Dean Hood sits on death row in Texas. After the trial , it was discovered that Judge Verla Sue Hood and the prosecutor Thomas S. O’Connell were having an extramarital love affair during the trial.Recently, Texas’s highest court for criminal matters rejected Mr.Dean’s appeal.The court held Mr.Hood waited too long to raise the issue of whether a love affair between the judge and the prosecutor could create a conflict of interest.
“A judge who has engaged in an intimate, extramarital, sexual relationship with the prosecutor trying a capital murder case before her has a conflict of interest and must recuse herself,” the brief from the ethics experts said. “Of all the courts to have considered the issue, only the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in this case failed to recognize this imperative.” Reported Adam Liptak of the New York Times.
A former governor, former FBI director,U.S. Attorney, and a host of other judges and prosecutors have filed a brief in support of Mr. Hood’s appeal to the United Supreme Court.
The District Attorney in Collin County , Texas ,John Roach, was quoted as " the past romantic relationships,of even public figures,become a matter that is entitled to a little privacy". I quess Mr. Roach is not following Tiger Woods issue.Bias is a subtle issue. when a man’s life is on the line it is completely wrong for the judge not to recuse ones self. Last year the Supreme Court weighed in on the judicial ethics.
“The probability of actual bias on the part of the judge,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, was “too high to be constitutionally tolerable.”
It’s time for the Supreme Court to step up to define these ethical pitfalls.