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Judge Keller Execution Case In Court & Nightly Roundup


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison today announced she's running for governor and blasted Gov. Rick Perry's administration for arrogance and "tragic" mistakes. Hutchison, at her old high school in La Marque, proposed limiting governors to a pair of four-year terms.

Perry took over the rest of former President George W. Bush's second term as governor in 2000. Perry was elected to two, four-year terms since then.

Hutchison says Texas is awash in debt, leads the nation in uninsured children and has the highest property taxes in the country. Her campaign announcement tour continues statewide through Friday.

Perry's aides parked a truck outside the event in La Marque, featuring an oversized picture of the senator with a sign saying: "Kay Bailout Express." That's in reference to Hutchison's vote in favor of the 2008 financial rescue package.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner says the senator is coming up "with no ideas."

Clerk says Keller didn't close access to court

A clerk for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals says he doesn't believe Presiding Judge Sharon Keller closed the door on a condemned man's final appeal.

Keller went on trial Monday in San Antonio on five charges of judicial misconduct. She is accused of denying convicted killer Michael Wayne Richard his right to file an appeal before being executed in September 2007.

The first day of testimony ended with the court's deputy clerk, Abel Acosta. He testified that he told Richard's legal team that he wouldn't accept any paperwork past 5 p.m, but that he was personally aware of other avenues to file an appeal.

Acosta said he didn't remind Richard's attorneys of those avenues because he isn't supposed to give legal advice. Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday.

Bell, engineering union reach contract agreement

Bell Helicopter has a new three-year contract with a union representing about 175 engineering workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The company said the Bell Production Engineers Association ratified the contract Sunday night by a three-to-one margin. The contract includes a cumulative wage increase of 10.4 percent over the three years of the deal, and each union member will receive a $3,000 cash ratification bonus.

Last month, a union representing 2,500 manufacturing workers ended a nearly-six-week strike after members ratified a four-year contract. Bell and the United Auto Workers Local 218 were finally able to reach an agreement after several failed attempts during the strike.

Bell Helicopter is based in Fort Worth, and its parent company is Rhode Island-based Textron Inc.

Dallas musician seeks return of stolen viola

A musician is pleading for the safe return of a stolen viola that had been used to play more than 100 concerts in nursing homes and hospitals all over Dallas.

Twenty-seven-year-old Claire Garza said someone took a violin, a DVD player and the viola, valued around $30,000, after breaking into her apartment Friday.

Garza plays for the Texas Winds Musical Outreach, a group of professional musicians that tries to help people in the community. She said her high school teacher sold her the viola and it was "heartbreaking" for her to tell him it got stolen. She just wants the thief to take care of it and return it.

Appeals court justice leaves for private practice

Texas Supreme Court Justice Scott Brister is resigning to return to private law practice. Brister said Monday that he'll step down Sept. 7. He will join the firm of Andrews Kurth LLP and lead the firm's appeals division.

The Republican was an appeals court judge when Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to the state's top civil appeals court in 2003. He then won statewide election in 2004.

Brister joined the court during a period of high turnover. Five justices came the the court between late 2003 to mid-2005. Another Texas Supreme Court Justice, Harriet O'Neill, has said she won't seek re-election in 2010.