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TexCCA Halts Fine's Circus, For Now

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AP reports from Houston:

An unusual court hearing on the constitutionality of the death penalty in Texas was put on hold Tuesday after the state's highest criminal court granted a request by prosecutors to stop it.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered that the hearing be temporarily halted so prosecutors and defense attorneys can file motions on whether the legal proceeding should be allowed to continue.

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The appeals court gave both sides 15 days to file their legal briefs. Loper said he doesn't know how long the hearing could remain on hold.

On Monday, the prosecutor's office had filed a motion with the appeals court, asking it to reconsider its decision from last month to not stop the hearing. In their motion, prosecutors reiterated their arguments that the claims being made by Greens' attorneys were well-settled case law and that Fine didn't have the authority to prevent the state from seeking the death penalty in the case.

Previous post is here.  Brian Rogers has this story in the Houston Chronicle.

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I was struck by these two lines in the Houston Chronicle story:

"Steven Halpert, a Houston defense lawyer who has been watching the proceedings, said he does not believe the hearing will continue.

"It's a shame, because a free debate, a well-rounded debate on these issues is certainly overdue, and we may never get that opportunity."

More complete nonsense is difficult to imagine. First, a case in litigation is not a debate. It is also not "free," being constrained by the rules of evidence. Second, it is not "certainly overdue" or overdue at all. It's been going on for years if not decades. Third, the "opportunity" for the debate is everywhere -- a zillion law reviews, press articles, and blogs, including this one.

Am I the only one amazed at how free some defense lawyers feel to just say anything, even if not even arguably true?

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