With one exception, the first day of Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller’s hearing on ethics charges has offered no surprises. That exception came when John “Mike” McKetta, shareholder in Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, special counsel for the State Judicial Conduct Commission, noted Keller’s claim in her amended answer, filed Aug. 14, that Ed Marty, the CCA’s general counsel on Sept. 25, 2007, had told CCA Judge Cheryl Johnson that Michael Richard’s attorneys had requested the clerk’s office to stay open to receive Richard’s motion for stay of execution and writ of prohibition. Johnson, who was the assigned judge on the day Richard was executed, denied that when she testified as the first witness in Keller’s hearing. “If I had known they had asked for more time, I would have granted it,” Johnson testified before 37th District Court Judge David Berchelmann Jr., special master for the case. Johnson was expected to continue testimony following the lunch break.
-- Mary Alice Robbins