Sharon Keller Gets Record Ethics Fine

Judge Sharon Keller isn’t as meticulous on her personal finance reports as she is particular about court closing time, the Texas Ethics Commission found today.

Today, the state agency fined the troubled Criminal Court of Appeals judge $100,000 for failing to disclose sources of income — including stocks, money market accounts, honorariums and interests in real estate appraised at $2.4 million — on her personal financial statements from 2004 to 2008. Keller has been the presiding judge of the state’s highest criminal court since 2000. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct placed her under review last year regarding her handling of the last-minute execution appeal of Michael Richard. She refused to hold the clerk’s office open past 5 p.m. as Richards’ lawyers rushed to file a last-minute appeal in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier that day to hear a case about whether lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment. In September, the commission reprimanded her but did not remove her from the bench.

And one more thing: Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who faced a $75,000 fine last year for campaign spending violations, no longer holds the distinction of having received the largest penalty in TEC history. (He also had to reimburse another $41,357.10.)

That honor now goes to Keller.

 

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