The case had unfolded like a novel. But now the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has added a new chapter, and a reprieve, for a defendant who protested that the judge in his murder trial had been sleeping with the prosecutor (see Gavel Grab), and they admitted it.
In a split ruling, the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered this week a new punishment trial for Charles Dean Hood, saying the jury didn’t get a proper chance to hear evidence that could have persuaded them to spare his life. He was convicted in 1990 and was sentenced to death.
According to an Associated Press article, the ruling didn’t mention the relationship of the trial judge, Verla Sue Holland, and the prosecutor, Thomas O’Connell. They no longer hold their former jobs. Neither individual has been publicly disciplined by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct or the State Bar of Texas.