Judge-prosecutor love affair case rejected

April 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to review a murder conviction in a Texas court where the judge and prosecutor had been conducting a long-running affair.

The refusal came in a one-line order without comment.

The Houston Chronicle says Charles D. Hood was convicted of murder in 1990. What his jury didn't know, however, was that Judge Verla Sue Holland and District Attorney Thomas O'Connell, both married, had engaged in an 18-year affair, the newspaper said.

O'Connell had denied the affair to Hood's defense attorneys but the ex-lovers finally had to admit the liaison while testifying under oath in 2008, the Chronicle said.

A state judge ruled Hood deserved a new trial, but a Texas appeals court said Hood's attorneys had waited too long to introduce evidence of the affair.

Though his death penalty was thrown out by a Texas appeals court on other issues, Hood would have had his case reopened if the Supreme Court had agreed to review.

The Chronicle said former Texas Gov. Mark White joined 20 former judges and prosecutors and 30 legal ethicists in unsuccessfully asking the Supreme Court for review.

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