Constitution Project Expresses Disappointment in Supreme Court Refusal to Hear Case of Charles Dean Hood

Fair trial in doubt because of affair between prosecutor and judge, says former Texas Governor Mark White and former FBI Director Judge William S. Sessions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Matthew Allee,  (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitutionproject.org

WASHINGTON – The Constitution Project is disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal today to hear the case of Charles Dean Hood, who has long protested that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated because of an admitted affair between the prosecutor in his case and the judge presiding over his trial. Mr. Hood was sentenced to death in 1990 for a double murder.

Today’s decision by the Court, without explanation, in Charles Dean Hood v. State of Texas is separate from a February order by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that Mr. Hood is entitled to a new sentencing hearing. That order was based on a legal issue unrelated to the relationship between Mr. Hood’s prosecutor and presiding judge.

The following statement can be attributed to former Texas Governor and Texas Attorney General Mark White, and Judge William S. Sessions, former federal judge in Texas and former Director of the FBI:

“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court today refused to hear Mr. Hood’s case. It means that the manifest unfairness that occurred in Mr. Hood’s case will remain unaddressed by any court, and the injustice will go unremedied. The relationship between the judge and prosecutor in this case breached every standard of fairness that we rightfully expect from our country’s criminal justice system, casting grave doubt on the impartiality of the trial in this case and tarnishing the reputation of the judiciary and our criminal justice system as a whole.

“For the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and now the United States Supreme Court to show indifference to such paramount injustice, particularly in a case that resulted in the imposition of the death penalty, should be an outrage to all citizens.”

In February, the Constitution Project organized an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Mr. Hood’s behalf, from 21 former judges, government officials, and prosecutors. Governor White and Judge Sessions were signatories to the brief.

Click here to view a copy of the amicus brief.

In September 2008, the Constitution Project organized a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry signed by former federal and state judges and prosecutors from across the country, urging the governor to grant a reprieve for Mr. Hood, who was then slated for execution within days.

Click here to view the letter sent to Governor Perry.

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