Texas Judge on Trial

Judge Sharon Keller, known as "Sharon Killer" by her critics, began playing the role of defendant Monday, as she stands accused of improperly blocking a request for a stay of execution in Texas. Keller, the highest ranking criminal judge in the state, reportedly rejected lawyers for an inmate on death row who were scrambling to petition late in the afternoon for a delay, telling them, "We close at 5." The inmate was executed later in the evening. Lawyers had sought the stay of execution because the Supreme Court had agreed that same day in 2007 to hear arguments regarding whether lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Keller was involved in another infamous execution case in which she denied a retrial for a mentally handicapped man despite claims of new DNA evidence. Keller is a judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.