Texas Prosecutors 'Stand Mute' at Death Penalty Hearing

Challenge to decide whether Texas' death penalty is constitutional
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 10:35 AM CST

(Newser) – The death penalty is facing a major constitutional challenge in Texas, but the district attorney in the case literally doesn’t think it’s worth talking about. At a hearing yesterday to determine whether Texas’ death penalty is unconstitutional because it doesn't have enough safeguards for defendants, prosecutors said they’d been ordered by the DA to "stand mute" throughout the proceedings, the Houston Chronicle reports. “I’m not allowing you to not participate,” the judge. But when they stuck by their orders, the judge allowed the proceedings to continue.

The defense called anti-death penalty experts, legal scholars, and investigators, all without a peep from the prosecution. “It’s arrogant, and it’s contemptuous for the state to decide to not participate when they’re trying to put my client to death,” one attorney fumed. The hearing stems from an upcoming death penalty trial against John Edward Green. Since Green hasn’t yet been convicted, prosecutors previously argued that he doesn’t yet have the right to challenge the death penalty, and contend that death penalty law is settled anyway. (Read more death penalty stories.)

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