Tuesday, April 20, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Sex Scandal Death Sentence

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a Texas man sentenced to death. The request to the high court was made on behalf of Charles Dean Hood. He was sentenced to death following a trial that involved a romantic relationship between the presiding judge and county prosecutor.

Hood has been on Texas' death row since 1990. Hood, a former bouncer at a topless club, was convicted of killing a stripper and her boyfriend that he was living with.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Hood has received several stays of execution as his lawyers sought to raise objections about a romantic sexual relationship between Judge Verla Sue Holland, who presided over the trial, and Tom O'Connell, the county district attorney. Holland and O'Connell eventually acknowledged a sexual relationship that they suggest took place before the trial.

Despite the sexual relationship, Hood was not granted a new trial in state court. Now his request for federal review has also been foreclosed. However, his case is not hopeless. According to the Morning News, he has been granted a new sentencing hearing by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The court ruled in February that the jury that sentenced Hood to death was provide with inadequate jury instructions regarding whether to consider Hood’s background when determining his punishment.

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