The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled it has no authority or jurisdiction to intervene in its sister court's ban of prominent death penalty lawyer David Dow.
In January, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — the state's highest criminal court — found Dow in contempt after he was a day late filing an appeal to stop the execution of Miguel Angel Paredes last year. The court banished Dow from appearing with new clients before that court for a year. Dow had been warned he could be suspended after missing another deadline with the appeals court in 2010.
"Dow has been suspended for an important but limited reason ... ensuring that pleadings in death penalty cases are filed in time to be thoroughly considered by the courts," the ruling stated.
Paredes was executed in October for his role in 2002 slaying that left three people dead.
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Dow appealed the ban, arguing that the criminal appeals court had overstepped its bounds by regulating attorney conduct, a power that rests with the Texas Supreme Court, the state's highest civil court.
But on Friday, the Texas Supreme Court's ruling stated the criminal appeals court's ban did not usurp its authority.
"The Court of Criminal Appeals has not undertaken to determine what lawyers may practice before it," the Supreme Court ruled. "Rather, it has imposed a sanction for the violation of a rule that provides for such a sanction. This in no way threatens our authority to regulate the Texas bar."
The Texas Supreme Court ruling pointed out that Dow can continue to represent his current clients before the court but cannot take any new cases to them during the ban.
Dow's attorney, Stanley Schneider, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.