A district judge has recused herself from a contempt hearing for two Houston prosecutors. State District Jude Susan Brown recused herself at a hearing on Monday dealing with allegations that the Harris County district attorney’s office violated a court order by obtaining secret testimony from a grand jury investigation into the DA’s office. Two assistant district attorneys and two court reporters had been summoned to Brown’s court. They were asked to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt.
A doctor who retaliated against two nurses now faces two months in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to two felony charges. Dr. Rolando Arafiles Jr. pleaded guilty to retaliation and misuse of official information as a part of a plea agreement, which will also cause him to surrender his medical license. Arafiles caused the firing of nurses Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle after they filed an anonymous complaint with the medical board in 2009. Both nurses were indicted and faced 10 years in prison. Mitchell was acquitted and charges were dropped against Galle.
The highest criminal court of Texas has postponed a convicted murderer’s execution due to new DNA testing that could show he’s innocent. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday put off the scheduled Wednesday execution of 49-year-old Henry Skinner because it is examining how changes in the state law on DNA testing requests affects cases like his. Skinner was convicted on the murders of his girlfriend and her two sons in their Pampa home on New Year’s Eve 1993. Prosecutors are contesting the new tests, saying courts already ruled against Skinner.