Better late than Keller

Anyone who reads this blawg regulalry knows that I enjoy taking a current news story and adding some information on the law for the lay public, or some opinion not in the original piece (e.g. pot should be legal, the 4th Amendment matters).

News reaction is not the pinnacle of blawging. Grits, Simple Justice, and Defending People regularly pen original work on broader topics, or create news themselves. That’s blawg gold. Recognizing the limitation of the form let’s move on to the continuing saga of Judge Keller.

Today’s DMN piece on Judge Sharon Keller’s financial statement debacle leaves little for me to add. Instead, I’ll just cut and paste a few sections. This is like mainlining irony.

The state’s top criminal appeals court judge has amended her personal financial statement to disclose more than $2.4 million in property and income that she had not previously reported to the state, as required by law.

In a sworn statement filed in Austin earlier this week, Sharon Keller said she omitted more than two dozen properties, bank accounts, income sources and business directorships because her elderly father in Dallas had not told her about them.

Reasonable explanation right? Judge Keller is arguing that she lacks the mens rea required for culpability. Ergo, she wants to escape punishment for this oversight.
A late filing, with no ill intent, where could this possibly go…?

Cue Andrew Wheat-

Andrew Wheat, research director of Texans for Public Justice, an Austin watchdog group that filed the complaints over Keller’s nondisclosures, suggested that the judge would not be swayed by other’s pleas of sloppiness.

“If a defense attorney in a death penalty case before Judge Keller’s court filed briefs as carelessly as Keller filed her financials, the client in question already would have been executed,” he said.

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