Charles D. Hood
Dallas - COLIN COUNTY:
February 11, 2013 - Charles Hood #000982 Re-sentenced
to life last week, He will not receive credit for the 23 years he
has spent on death row Texas.
here on the board
|Constitution Project Organizes Amicus
Brief in Support of Charles Dean Hood Cert Petition
Brief is joined by former judges, government officials, and prosecutors
in the case of Charles Dean Hood v. State of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010
CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitution
WASHINGTON - Earlier today, 21 former judges, government officials, and
prosecutors filed an amicus brief in support of Charles Dean Hood's
petition to the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to hear
the case. Hood was sentenced to death in 1990 for a double murder, but
has long protested that his constitutional right to a fair trial was
violated due to the romantic relationship between the prosecutor in his
case and the judge presiding over his trial.
In 2008, a Texas court ordered both the judge and prosecutor be deposed
after years of their refusing to do so, and both finally admitted the
relationship. Nevertheless, in September 2009, the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals denied Hood's habeas petition as untimely based on
state procedural rules. Today's brief, organized by the Constitution
Project, requests the Supreme Court review the decision of the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals, based on the clear due process violation that
occurred in Mr. Hood's case.
The brief, joined by Kenneth Mighell, former U.S. Attorney in the
Northern District of Texas, Sam Millsap, former District Attorney for
Bexar County, Texas, William S. Sessions, former FBI Director and
federal judge in Texas, Mark White, former Texas Governor, and others,
states in part:
"The conduct of the trial judge and prosecutor in a proceeding that
resulted in imposition of the death penalty, combined with the short
shrift given to petitioner's claim by the Court of Criminal Appeals,
cast grave doubt on the impartiality and fairness of the trial in this
case and tarnish significantly the reputation of the judiciary as a
whole. This Court likely is the last court with an opportunity to
prevent the infliction of this serious harm-both to petitioner and to
To view a copy of the amicus brief, go to:
In September 2008, the Constitution Project organized a letter to Texas
Governor Rick Perry signed by former federal and state judges and
prosecutors from across the country, urging the governor to grant a
reprieve for Mr. Hood, who was then slated for execution within days.
To view the letter sent to Governor Perry, go to:
2008 LIVINGSTON, Texas — Charles Dean Hood
!! State District Judge John Nelms in Collin
new death date for Sept. 10, 2008 !!
Late Tuesday Sept. 9, 2008 the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals granted Hood a stay -- but not
because of the alleged affair. The court said it would reconsider its
previous dismissal of Hood's appeal challenging jury instructions. At
the same time, the court dismissed claims that Hood had been denied a
fair trial because of the alleged affair, the Associated Press reported.
Clear the air in death case ( http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/
September 7, 2008
Charges of corrupted justice in the
Collin County murder trial of Charles Dean Hood will get an overdue
airing in court Monday.
The inquiry should be complete and
conclusive on whether the trial judge and the district attorney who
prosecuted the case were having a secret affair when Mr. Hood was
convicted of capital murder in 1990. It should involve the opportunity
for former state District Judge Verla Sue Holland and former DA Tom
O'Connell to address sworn, but unproven, allegations of unethical and
It goes without saying that the
inquiry should move with urgency, since the defendant's execution is set
For weeks, the radioactive murder case
careened from courtroom to courtroom, and the ideal of sure and swift
justice seemed like a pathetic afterthought. In a chaotic spectacle on
June 17, Mr. Hood came within 90 minutes of execution, only to have the
warrant withdrawn and reinstated hours later. Prison staff could not
squeeze in the execution routine before the midnight deadline, which is
the only reason that attorneys can still dissect what was going on in
the county courthouse 18 years ago.
Various courts appeared to deflect the
core question of judicial corruption until Thursday, when state District
Judge Greg Brewer ordered a hearing on the matter. That shows spine.
In any salacious talk of secret
trysts, it mustn't be lost that the case stems from the heartless
murders of Ronald Williamson and Tracie Lynn Wallace of Plano. A jury
found that Mr. Hood was the killer, but the conviction can't involve
lingering doubts of a rigged case no matter how clear the evidence of
Attorney General Greg Abbott said as
much in an extraordinary statement last week urging thorough review.
Even the most ardent law-and-order Texan must agree with Mr. Abbott that
"if the execution proceeds as scheduled, before questions about the
fairness of his trial are legally resolved, neither the victims nor
justice will be served."
Indeed, if Judge Brewer's fact-finding
needed more time, with the execution date looming, Gov. Rick Perry
should heed the wisdom expressed in a letter by more than two dozen
federal and state judges and prosecutors who urged him to issue a
one-time, 30-day reprieve.
JohnDavid Battaglia 999412 TX (
JDVDBattaglia.com) in the cause of Charles D. Hood
June 18th, 2008 -Texas
death row inmate Charles Dean Hood
is still alive -- for now. His execution was cancelled minutes before
midnight Tuesday because prison officials feared they could not follow
the proper procedures in time after a flurry of appeals delayed the
original scheduled execution.
!! And again ... Charles Dean
Hood, now 38, is set to be put to death June 17 2008 !!
|Ardor in the court, Part 2
Salon reported on an alleged affair between judge and prosecutor in a
Texas murder trial. Now, days before Charles Hood's scheduled execution,
his lawyers make the allegation in court papers.
By Alan Berlow
The gurney sits empty in the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas.
June 14, 2008 | Rarely in the annals of criminal justice does a conflict
of interest get more sordid or have greater consequences than this.
Charles Dean Hood is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Tuesday
morning. In 1990, when he was on trial for capital murder in the Dallas
suburbs, the presiding judge who imposed that death sentence and the
local prosecutor who was trying to have Hood put to death had been
involved in a "long-term intimate relationship."
That's according to papers filed by Hood's attorneys in two Texas courts
Thursday. Hood's lawyers allege that Texas state court Judge Verla Sue
Holland had a "personal and direct interest in the outcome of the
case," and was disqualified from trying the case under the Texas
Constitution because of her ongoing affair with Collin County District
Attorney Tom O'Connell. Hood's lawyers are seeking a stay of execution
and the reversal of his conviction and death sentence.
Allegations that Judge Holland and District Attorney O'Connell were
romantically involved when Holland presided over the murder case
prosecuted by O'Connell were first reported in Salon in June 2005. But
yesterday's petition, which cites the original Salon report, marks the
first time Hood's lawyers have taken the matter to court. The "wall
of silence that has long protected Judge Holland must now come
down," the lawyers argue in their filing.
Hood's claims rely in part on Matthew Goeller, who was an assistant
district attorney in O'Connell's office at the time of Hood's
conviction. Goeller signed an affidavit earlier this month, nearly 18
years after Hood's conviction, stating that "it was common
knowledge in the District Attorney's Office, and the Collin County Bar,
in general," that O'Connell and Holland "had a romantic
relationship." According to Goeller, "This relationship ...
was in existence in 1987 when I joined the District Attorney's Office,
and continued until approximately 1993."
Neither the judge nor the prosecutor has publicly confirmed or denied
the relationship. Neither returned phone calls yesterday. Asked about
the case and any such relationship in 2005, Holland told Salon it would
be "unethical to comment" about a pending case and refused
comment on her personal ties with O'Connell.
Hood, 38, was sentenced to death in August 1990 for the 1989 murder of
Ronald Williamson, 46, and Williamson's girlfriend, Tracie Wallace, 26.
Hood had worked as Williamson's bodyguard and was living with him and
Wallace at the time of the murders. The victims were found in
O'Connell and Assistant District Attorney John Schomburger prosecuted
Hood. O'Connell delivered closing arguments in the penalty phase of the
trial at which he asked the jury to sentence Hood to death. The jury
sentenced him to death, a sentence imposed by Judge Holland the
following day, as required by Texas law. Schomburger also did not
respond to a request for comment.
Lawyers for Hood admit they cannot prove that Judge Holland and D.A.
O'Connell were having an affair, but they believe the law and the Texas
Constitution oblige the courts to investigate the matter. "It's
clear the parties did not want to make the affair public and they took
steps at the time and now to keep it private," said Gregory W.
Wiercioch, one of Hood's attorneys, insisting that Judge Holland was
disqualified from hearing the case and that her judgment therefore has
no authority. Wiercioch, an attorney with the private, nonprofit Texas
Defender Service, a law firm that represents indigent capital defendants
in Texas, says the courts should ask O'Connell and Holland to confirm or
deny the relationship, arguing that asking Hood to offer concrete proof
of a private affair is unreasonable.
The Texas Constitution bars a judge from sitting in a case "where
either of the parties may be connected with the judge, either by
affinity or consanguinity." As district attorney, O'Connell
represented the State of Texas, the party seeking to execute Hood. The
constitution further states that "Public policy demands that the
judge who sits in a case act with absolute impartiality. Beyond the
demand that a judge be impartial, however, is the requirement that a
judge appear to be impartial so that no doubts or suspicions exist as to
the fairness or integrity of the court."
Judge Verla Sue Holland was divorced from the late Earl Holland, a
banker, in 1987. Friends of Earl Holland told Salon in 2005 that his
wife had a relationship with O'Connell, and that it began while Judge
Holland and Earl Holland were still married. One woman close to Earl
Holland told Salon that Earl had a shoebox filled with tape recordings
of his wife and O'Connell conversing. This source said, "I am 100
percent sure there was an affair." One of Earl Holland's closest
friends said, there was "a mountain of circumstantial evidence of
an affair," and that Earl Holland discussed the affair with him
frequently, both while he was married to Judge Holland and after.
Earlier this week, Ray Wheless, a Collin County judge who previously
argued cases before Judge Holland, told Salon that he had asked Judge
Holland to recuse herself in a family law case in 1987 in which
O'Connell was representing one of the parties and Wheless the other.
Wheless said there was "a lot of speculation about that
relationship" and "a long history of them being close
friends." Wheless' recusal motion makes no mention of a romantic
relationship, but notes that O'Connell represented Holland's sister in a
divorce matter, and that "Judge Holland was previously employed by
Tom O'Connell as an assistant district attorney." Wheless argued
that both the attorney-client relationship and the employer-employee
relationship created potential conflicts of interest.
Hood's original attorney, David K. Haynes, also signed an affidavit
filed yesterday stating that he was "aware of rumors concerning a
romantic relationship" at the time of the trial. But Haynes never
mentioned the matter when his client was facing a death sentence.
Court records show that Holland presided over at least six other cases
argued by O'Connell during the six-year period in which Goeller says
they were romantically involved, and numerous other cases before and
after. Were a court to overrule Hood's conviction based on a finding
that Judge Holland had compromised her office, judgments in all of these
cases could be called into question.
Judge Holland served on the state district court from 1981 through 1996
and then on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) until 2001. Hood's
lawyers filed their motions in both courts. Seven of the nine judges now
on the CCA served with Holland. O'Connell retired from the prosecutor's
office in 2001 and practices law in Plano.
Hood's lawyers also filed a petition with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, seeking
a 30-day reprieve so that the new evidence can be considered by the
Charles received an execution
date June 30,2005 -Stayed June 27, 2005
The state has 120 days to examine the case, although
an extension is possible.
Ardor in the court
When the judge and prosecutor involved in a capital case are
sleeping together, can the defendant possibly get a fair trial? Meet
Charles Dean Hood, on Texas' death row.
By Alan Berlow
Jun 24, 2005 | Here's a not very tough question of legal ethics to
ponder over the morning coffee: Let's say you're on trial for
murder, and the judge and the prosecutor in your case have been
having an affair. Is it possible for you to get a fair trial?
In the case of Charles Dean Hood, the short answer is, "Don't
bet your life on it."
Hood, who was sentenced to death for a 1989 double murder, is
scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on June 30.
Unfortunately for Hood, in the 15 years since he arrived on death
row, the issue of the strange and not-so-secret relationship of
State District Court Judge Verla Sue Holland and Collin County
District Attorney Tom O'Connell has never been raised in a single
state or federal court.
Now, it should be stated at the outset that the private affairs of
public officials, including extra-marital relations, should under
all but the most extraordinary circumstances remain solely the
business of the parties involved.
But when a person is charged with a serious crime and his life hangs
in the balance, such a private relationship may well become a matter
of public interest, because the public has a right to know that the
judicial process that prosecutors and judges swear to uphold will
not be compromised.
Hood was convicted in August 1990 of the brutal murders of his boss
Ronald Williamson, 46, and Williamson's girlfriend, Tracie Wallace,
26. Hood worked as Williamson's bodyguard. Both victims were shot at
close range in the head. Hood's bloody fingerprints were found at
the crime scene. Although Hood's trial left a welter of unanswered
questions -- about a possible accomplice, the motive for the
killings, Hood's mental state, and the quality of Hood's
representation, to name just a few -- there is little doubt that the
state could easily have won a conviction of Hood by assigning a
prosecutor whose presence in the courthouse would not raise a
question of unethical conduct.
Yet District Attorney Tom O'Connell chose to prosecute the case
himself and not to reveal that he and Judge Holland had been
involved in a long-running romantic relationship.
Why O'Connell would have risked jeopardizing what had to have looked
like a slam-dunk conviction over questions about his personal life
is not at all clear, unless he was fairly confident that no one
would dare to challenge him. O'Connell, who has since retired from
public service, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
For her part, Judge Holland refused to either confirm or deny the
alleged relationship with O'Connell, insisting that it would be
"unethical to comment" on a pending case. Asked if it was
also unethical to try a case in which she had been romantically
involved with the prosecutor, the judge said, "I'm not going to
comment on anything, and I resent the fact that you're
calling." Judge Holland, who served on the Collin County court
for 15 years before being elected to the state criminal appeals
court, has since retired.
The Collin County District Attorney's Office, where O'Connell served
for more than a decade, also refused to respond to written
questions, as did John Schomburger, the assistant district attorney
who prosecuted Hood with O'Connell.
Close friends of the late Earl Holland, who was married to Verla Sue
Holland for 17 years, say there is no question that she and
O'Connell had an ongoing, intimate relationship that began while she
was married to Earl, a prominent banker active in local Republican
politics. Friends of Holland, who died earlier this year, insist
that he told them the affair was the precipitating factor in his
decision to file for divorce.
"I am 100 percent sure that there was an affair," said one
woman who refused to be named. This source recounted having listened
to tape recordings Earl Holland obtained of conversations between
the judge and O'Connell that provided irrefutable evidence that the
two were intimately involved. Earl Holland had collected an entire
"shoe box" of these recordings, she said, but she did not
know how he obtained them.
Holland's friend said Holland "thought he [O'Connell] was a
family friend," and invited him often to his home, only to
learn later that O'Connell "was of course sleeping with
Sue." Earl Holland became convinced that the alleged affair had
gone on for several years before he learned about it. The divorce
was finalized in October 1987. Sources differ on when the
relationship ended; according to Holland's friend, the affair
continued for at least a year after the divorce, possibly longer.
Another close personal friend in whom Earl Holland confided said
there was "a mountain of circumstantial evidence of an
affair," and that Earl Holland frequently discussed the alleged
affair with him, both while he was married to Judge Holland and
after. "Earl was convinced that they [Verla Sue and O'Connell]
were having an affair. He was absolutely convinced."
Hood's original trial lawyer, David K. Haynes, said, "Everyone
in the courthouse had heard those rumors" about the judge and
the DA. But Haynes said that without proof, he did not feel he could
raise the issue at trial.
Next Page: "At a minimum, there is no appearance of fairness in
According to a report prepared by a private investigator in 1995 in
connection with Hood's appeals, Haynes may have had other reasons
for failing to pursue "those rumors." The report quotes a
paralegal who worked for Haynes, Janet Heitmiller, claiming that her
boss "feared raising the relationship as an issue in Dean's
[Charles Dean Hood's] case would cost them points with the judge
concerning other cases" he might argue before her. According to
the investigator's report, Heitmiller learned of the alleged
relationship while working for Haynes and believed that Judge
Holland and O'Connell "were still dating up to a year after the
case was resolved."
The report, written by Tena S. Francis, also quotes a local
attorney, Ray Wheless, as saying that "the judge and DA tried
to keep their relationship as private as possible. People in the
legal community knew about it, though, and the two could often be
seen going to lunch together from the courthouse."
The investigator concluded that "the relationship with
O'Connell is what cost [Judge] Holland her marriage." The
report added that Wheless "does not know why or how or when
O'Connell's relationship with Holland ended." Now a Collin
County judge, Wheless did not return phone calls to his home and
office. Although Hood's appellate lawyers discussed the alleged
affair over the years, the issue was never formally raised on any
Today, Hood's trial attorney, David Haynes, says that evidence of
the alleged affair "certainly would have made a difference in
the way the defense was approached. It would have cast some doubt
about the fairness of the tribunal." But he says there is no
way to know for sure if rulings Judge Holland made against his
client were prejudiced due to the alleged relationship with the
Richard Ellis, a San Francisco attorney now representing Hood,
agrees that there is no way to connect Holland's rulings to
allegations about her personal life, but he considers at least one
of her decisions, refusing a defense request for a psychological
evaluation, "totally out of the mainstream of judicial
authority," given a Supreme Court ruling on the issue. Although
Hood is not mentally retarded, a scientific presentation by a
defense psychiatrist might have convinced the jury to forgo the
death sentence. As a child, Hood suffered a traumatic head injury,
and there was evidence that he was regularly whipped by his father.
David R. Dow, a University of Houston law professor who is also
working on the Hood matter, insists, "It is a red herring to
look for particular things that are challengeable, because what you
have in a case like this is a complete and fundamental breakdown of
all the premises of the adversary system." Based on the
relationship of the judge and the prosecutor, Dow says there is no
question that Hood should be granted a new trial. "Any criminal
defendant who stands to be sentenced to death is entitled to a
proceeding that is not only fair, but has the appearance of
fairness. At a minimum, there is no appearance of fairness in this
case, and we have good reason to believe the judge made decisions
that resulted in concrete harm. Did she make those decisions because
she was sleeping with the prosecutor? Who knows. But we shouldn't
have to engage in that kind of idle speculation." Dow says the
judge should have recused herself from the case.
Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University Law
School, agrees. One of the country's leading authorities on legal
ethics, Gillers said, "There's no question -- it's
incontrovertible -- this justice should not have sat in this case,
at least not without informed consent on the record from the defense
... The public has a right to complete confidence in the court's
disinterestedness, in the court's objectivity. It's simply not
possible to know how the case might have gone differently or how the
rulings might have been altered absent this relationship."
Gillers cited the widely used ABA Code of Judicial Conduct, which
provides that "A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a
proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be
questioned." Where there is doubt, a judge is obliged to
disclose information that lawyers might consider relevant to the
question of disqualification.
Citing the same provision, Hofstra law professor Monroe Freedman,
author of "Understanding Lawyers' Ethics," said,
"Beyond any doubt, a judge's romantic involvement with a lawyer
appearing before him 'might' cause a reasonable person to 'question'
his impartiality. I am confident that no one who works in the field
of judges' ethics would take a different view from mine in this
Hood, 36, may have some of the country's top legal ethicists on his
side, but getting the courts to grant him a new trial is another
matter. If Judge Holland's behavior in the case is challenged, the
state will almost certainly argue that the defense still cannot
prove that her rulings were prejudiced or that they would have
changed the outcome of the jury's deliberations.
With his execution date imminent, Hood's lawyers have raised several
other legal issues. On Thursday, the Supreme Court was scheduled to
hear Hood's appeal for a new DNA test, with a decision expected on
Monday. Hood's lawyers are also contesting the constitutionality of
the Texas jury instructions given at his trial, which used the same
language as instructions since deemed unconstitutional by the
Greetings to whom maybe interested in a friendship with me.
I am seeking someone if possible around my age ( 34-years old ) but
whoever writes I'm greatful to all.
Please let me tell you a little about myself so you get a better feel of
whom you're writing.
Charles D. Hood
I am 6-foot 4 1/2 inches tall, I weigh 2-hundred and 20-pounds
Personality-guess I'm a funny kind, a guy with good character.
I am an artist which being where I'm at surely helps relieve the
/ou find yourself under in these circumstances.
Hope you'll give me a chance,
D. Hood # 000982
FM 350 S Livingston, TX 77351
Ich grüße alle, die möglicherweise Interesse an einer
Freundschaft mit mir haben.
Ich suche jemanden, der möglichst in meinem Alter
ist (34 Jahre alt), aber dennoch bin ich über jeden, der mir schreibt,
Bitte lass mich Dir ein wenig über mich erzählen,
damit du ein Gefühl bekommst, wem Du schreibst.
Charles D. Hood
Ich bin 1,94 Meter groß und wiege 100 kg
Persönlichkeit – ich denke, ich bin ein lustiger
Kerl, einer mit gutem Charakter.
Ich bin ein Künstler, was natürlich da, wo ich
bin, hilft, den Streß unter den gegebenen Voraussetzungen zu verringern.
Hoffe, Du wirst mir eine Chance geben. Danke!