A she said-he said dispute over who said what in a series of telephone calls preceding the state’s execution of Michael Richard in 2007 could become a key issue in Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller’s upcoming hearing on misconduct charges.

In a hearing beginning Aug. 17 in San Antonio, a state district judge appointed by the Texas Supreme Court as special master in In Re: The Honorable Sharon Keller will determine whether Keller’s actions on the day Richard was executed violated the Texas Constitution and the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, as alleged by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. A finding by 37th District Judge David Berchelmann Jr. that Keller committed judicial misconduct ultimately could result in her removal from the bench.

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