By: Burnam H.R. No. 480
R E S O L U T I O N
WHEREAS, The House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature has exclusive power to present articles of impeachment against a state officer under Section 1, Article XV, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 665, Government Code; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 81st Texas Legislature adopt the following procedures to consider the impeachment of Judge Sharon Keller, Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, for gross neglect of duty and conducting her official duties with willful disregard for human life:
SECTION 1. SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON IMPEACHMENT. The House Special Committee on Impeachment composed of seven members of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House. The Speaker shall designate a committee member to serve as chair of the committee and a committee member to serve as vice-chair of the committee.
SECTION 2. INVESTIGATION; ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT. (a) The committee shall conduct an investigation to consider whether to recommend that under Section 1, Article XV, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 665, Government Code, the House of Representatives adopt and present to the Texas Senate articles of impeachment against Judge Sharon Keller, Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, for gross neglect of duty and conducting her official duties with willful disregard for human life in connection with her actions on the evening of September 25, 2007, including her apparent irresponsible refusal to abide by the prior practice of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in order to receive the appeal of Michael Richard, which conduct may have resulted in Mr. Richard’s deprivation of life without due process of law as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Section 19, Article I, Texas Constitution, by means of a potentially unlawful execution by lethal injection, and in the embarrassment of the State of Texas in a manner that casts severe doubt on the impartiality of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the entire criminal justice system of this state.
(b) The committee shall submit a report of its findings to the Speaker of the House and the full House of Representatives as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than the 90th day after the date the committee is appointed. If the committee recommends impeachment of the judge, the report shall contain a draft of articles of impeachment.
SECTION 3. POWERS; ADMINISTRATION. (a) The committee shall meet at the call of the chair and may meet in executive session if approved by a majority of the members of the committee.
(b) The committee has all the powers granted to a standing committee under the Rules of the House of Representatives and under Subchapter B, Chapter 301, Government Code, including the power to issue process to procure testimony or other evidence.
(c) On the request of the committee, the House of Representatives or the Texas Legislative Council shall provide the staff necessary to assist the committee in carrying out its duties.
(d) The operating expenses of the committee shall be paid as determined by the Committee on House Administration.
SECTION 4. EXPIRATION. This resolution expires and the House Special Committee on Impeachment ceases to exist on January 1, 2010.
Lon Burnam (D, Ft. Worth) is the author of the Resolution, which the House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence will hear on Monday.
Sharon Keller has retained Austin criminal-defense lawyer Roy Q. Minton.
See also the sworn declaration by judicial ethics experts at Matlock’s blog.