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Another strange development in #RodneyReed's case. The judge who has been presiding over Rodney's case in Bastrop County retired in August, but is somehow still assigned to Rodney's case. There are now questions about the death warrant. Thread to follow.…
Judge Doug Shaver was assigned to preside over a one-day hearing in #RodneyReed's case in May 2014. Judge Shaver was already retired back then, but he was on a list of retired judges who could fill in for other judges when needed.
On July 23, 2019, Judge Shaver signed a death warrant and approved an execution date for #RodneyReed. Remember — This is over five years after Judge Shaver was assigned to preside over a one-day hearing. The assignment had nothing to do with signing a death warrant years later!
In May 2017, Judge Shaver made a serious mistake in #RodneyReed's case. Judge Shaver signed two contradictory orders – one order denying DNA testing and one order granting DNA testing. He said it was an "inadvertent mistake."
17 days after Judge Shaver signed a death warrant and set an execution date for #RodneyReed, he retired again. He sent a letter to the Texas Supreme Court asking to be removed from the list of judges taking cases.
In a separate email, Judge Shaver wrote that, due to age, he had "been in fear" that he "would or would not do something that could affect the outcome of some important legal matter." Judge Shaver also mentioned that it was hard to accept that he would never act as a judge again.
Judge Shaver wrote that he was retiring and would never act as a judge again on August 9th, but even today he is still listed as actively presiding over #RodneyReed's case in Bastrop County. Rodney has motions and other matters pending in that court.
#RodneyReed's attorneys are now requesting a hearing to determine if Judge Shaver even had legal authority to sign the death warrant on July 23. He had been appointed to preside over a one-day hearing over five years earlier. That's longer than an elected judge's term of office!
The Texas Attorney General's office claims that only Judge Shaver has authority to rule on #RodneyReed's case in Bastrop County court. In other words, the AG's office is arguing that only Judge Shaver can rule on whether Judge Shaver had legal authority to sign the death warrant.
Set aside the legal questions and just ask yourself one question. Does this sound like a legal system we can trust to get it right in a death penalty case with an innocent human being's life on the line? If you ask me, the answer is NO.
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