A petition signed by 309 Texas lawyers – including two former state Supreme Court justices – asks the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to accept electronic filings to avoid a repeat of the events leading to the Sept. 25 execution of Michael Richard, the Houston Chronicle reports. Richard was executed after Presiding Judge Sharon Keller told the clerk’s office to close at 5 p.m., cutting off Richard’s appeals for a stay of execution.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day agreed to consider whether the chemicals used in lethal injection constitute cruel and unusual punishment. That meant that Richard likely would have received a stay of execution if the court had considered it. Electronic filings, the petition said, are allowed in all the federal courts in Texas as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.