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Two Weeks Before Her Special Trial, a Preview of Judge Sharon Keller's Defense

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Yesterday's Austin American-Statesman provided a lengthy sneak preview of Judge Sharon Keller's defense in advance of her August 17 special trial: The Greenhill and SMU grad is going to claim the defense attorneys lied, maybe just a little but maybe a whole lot, about having computer problems on September 25, 2007, that now-infamous day during which she refused to keep the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals open past 5 p.m. in order to receive their last-minute appeal on behalf of Michael Richard. He was executed later that same day, prompting a small library's worth of national media coverage in the weeks after. Finally, in February, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct said that "Judge Keller's willful and persistent failure to follow CCA's Execution-Day procedures on Sept. 25, 2007, constitutes incompetence in the performance of duties of office."

According to the burger heiress's attorney, former Eric Nadel broadcast partner at Brown University Chip Babcock, "Judge Keller's position will be that there was no computer problem. There will be testimony that [Richard's lawyers] -- maybe -- had e-mail problems for a few minutes in the afternoon." One Death Row defense attorney who handled Richard's case calls the new defense strategy "a legally irrelevant sideshow."

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