Tribpedia: Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals

Execution halted again for Dallas man who killed his daughters

John Battaglia and his two daughters, Liberty (l.) and Faith, who he murdered on May 1, 2001.
John Battaglia and his two daughters, Liberty (l.) and Faith, who he murdered on May 1, 2001.

A Dallas man who shot and killed his two young daughters while their mother listened over the phone in shock has had his execution delayed once again. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution Friday for John Battaglia in order to further examine whether he is mentally competent to be executed. 

Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.
Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.

Prison Guard's Convicted Killer Wins Another Execution Stay

Robert Lynn Pruett, convicted in the 1999 stabbing death of a state correctional officer, has won another stay of execution from a Court of Criminal Appeals judge. His lethal injection was set for August 23.

State District Judge Mary Lou Keel (l) and state District Judge Ray Wheless
State District Judge Mary Lou Keel (l) and state District Judge Ray Wheless

Two Contentious GOP Runoffs for Top Criminal Court

One candidate shares a name with a much more famous Republican. Another is accused of being a Democrat in disguise. A third has repeatedly pledged to take a criminal law certification test, which he’s already failed at least once.

Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).
Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).

Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates Emphasize Experience

Although the Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest criminal court in the state — and it deals with a number of hot-button issues including the death penalty — its nine judges don’t attract much attention. That can make campaigning for a seat on the court difficult.

Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.
Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.

House Gives Early OK to Expanding DNA Testing

The Texas House on Monday gave early approval to expanding DNA testing in criminal cases, an effort to prevent the incarceration of innocent Texans like Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Attorney David Dow.
Attorney David Dow.

Lawyer's One-Year Banishment Leads to Showdown

When the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals banished a prominent death row attorney this year, it set in motion an interesting showdown not only with the lawyer, David Dow, but one with its own glossier sibling, the Texas Supreme Court. 

Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.
Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.

Court Suspends Death Row Inmate's Lawyer Over Late Filing

The Court of Criminal Appeals has suspended a criminal defense lawyer, arguing that he filed motions to stop executions too late. The move is part of a ongoing feud in Texas between such lawyers and judges who rule on their claims.