The legal wrangling over the scheduled execution of Charles Dean Hood is beginning to resemble a chess match: One side makes a move, and the other side makes a counter move. Hood, who is on death row for two murders committed in 1989, today filed a motion in In Re: Charles Dean Hood, asking 199th District Judge Robert T. Dry Jr. to reconsider the hearing date Dry set for Hood’s Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202 petition to take depositions of the former judge and prosecutor for Hood's trial. Hood had alleged in the Rule 202 petition, filed Aug. 19 in a Collin County court-at-law and refiled Aug. 20 in the 199th District Court, that “based on information and belief,” former 296th District Judge Sue Holland and former Collin County District Attorney Tom O’Connell were involved in a secret romantic relationship when Hood stood trial in 1990. Neither Holland nor O’Connell immediately returned telephone calls for comment. In an Aug. 22 letter order, Dry set the hearing on Hood’s Rule 202 petition for Sept 12 –- two days after Hood is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Dry wrote in the letter order that he has severed any part of the Rule 202 petition that could challenge Hood’s conviction and sentence. “I will consider your Petition strictly from a civil standpoint under Rule 202 TCRP,” Dry wrote. As noted in Hood’s motion for reconsideration, Rule 202 deals with all actions civil in nature. Hood contends in the motion that requests for clemency or reprieve are not criminal proceedings. Any proceeding designed to obtain executive clemency does not impermissibly invade the Court of Criminal Appeals’ exclusive post-conviction jurisdiction, Hood asserts in the motion. But Hood contends that holding the hearing on his Rule 202 petition would deprive him of the right to obtain evidence in support of request for reprieve and a subsequent application for clemency. In the motion, Hood asks Dry to set the hearing no later than Sept. 3, which is 15 days after he served the petition on Holland and O’Connell.
-- Mary Alice Robbins