The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place the conviction of a man sent to death row in Texas despite the admission of an affair between his trial judge and the prosecutor.
The justices did not comment in turning down Charles Dean Hood's appeal seeking an entirely new trial based on the once-secret romantic relationship between the trial judge, Verla Sue Holland, and Tom O'Connell, the former district attorney in Collin County. The decision does not change a ruling earlier this year from a Texas appeals court that ordered a new punishment trial for Hood on a legal point unrelated to the affair.
Hood, 41, a former topless club bouncer, has insisted he is innocent in the 1989 fatal shootings of Tracie Lynn Wallace, 26, and her boyfriend, Ronald Williamson, 46, at their home in Plano.
The court also agreed Monday to review the case of a fired hospital worker who says he lost his job over his service in the U.S. Army Reserve. It also stepped into a legal fight over Omega's effort to stop Costco from offering the Swiss maker's watches for up to a third less than they cost elsewhere. It heard arguments in a dispute over whether a public law school can deny recognition to a Christian student group because it won't let gays join and a case involving complaints by California police officers that their employer violated their privacy by reading text messages sent on a government-provided pager.