Appeals Court to Allow E-mail Appeals in Death Penalty Cases

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will allow emergency e-mail appeals in death penalty cases.

The court made the decision yesterday, in response to a petition by hundreds of the state's top defense attorneys.

The Texas court had been one of the few in the nation that did not accept filings electronically.

The attorneys made the request to the court after presiding Judge Sharon Keller recently refused to allow the court to stay open past 5 p.m., even though attorneys for death row inmate Michael Richard had called and asked for an extra 20 minutes to get their appeal to the court offices. He was executed that evening.