UPDATE: “I don’t understand how this could happen. Since it obviously can, I wonder how many other outrageous conflicts of interest are rotting the justice system while nobody is paying attention.”
That’s how I started this post when I wrote it yesterday. Here’s how I ended this post, from May 17, just four months ago: “…the fact that something like this could happen at all, and for so many years, should have ethics alarms sounding throughout the justice system, and not only in Texas.”
This is because the two posts are about exactly the same episode. The similarities didn’t ring a bell with me at all yesterday. A new appellate court opinion related to the same outrageous Texas conflict of interest breach came down this month, so I treated the whole episode as new. It took commenter Rich in CT’s note to alert me. (Thanks Rich.) So here are my thoughts while banging my head on my desk:
- I apologize. It’s not as if there aren’t really new and horrible ethics stories to consider, especially in the law and the justice system. It’s OK if I waste my time, but its inexcusable to waste yours.
- I like the first post better.
- Silver lining: at least the posts don’t contradict each other.
- The association of legal ethicists I belong to scooped the ABA on this one, discussing the prosecutor’s conduct long before the legal press caught up to it. One more reason to renew my membership.
- I could write that this scandal is so outrageous that it is worthy of two posts, and maybe more. It is, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m an idiot.
- I think this has happened to me once before. But what do I know?
Once again, I’m sorry.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the 2003 conviction and death sentence of Clinton Lee Young in a Sept. 22 opinion. Why? Oh, just one of those technicalities: on of the prosecutors in the case was moonlighting as a a clerk for the judge in the trial the trial and who considered the the convicted man’s habeas application. That’s all.