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  1. #1
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    The Case Of Darlie Routier!!

    June 6th,1996
    Darlie and Darin Routier's Two oldest son's, Davon, 6 and Damon,5, were fatally stabbed in the downstairs living room of their home on Eagle Driver in Rowlett, Texas. Mrs Routier,26, was wounded in the neck and upper torso. She told police that a man wearing dark clothes and a baseball cap committed the crime. Mr. Routier tells police that he and the couple's 8 month-old son, Drake, slept through the attack in an upstairs bedroom.

    June 14th, 1996
    The Routiers hold a graveside birthday celebration for Devon, who would of turned 7. They sprayed silly string on the grave and sang "Happy Birthday." Afterward, they gave a 45-minute interview to KXAS-TV (Channel 5) during which they said they had nothing to hide and have no ideal why someone would kill the boys.

    June 18th, 1996
    Police arrest Mrs. Routier and charge her with capital murder in Devon and Damon's deaths. Investigators say her account of the attack does not match evidence from the scene. She was held at The Lew Sterrett Justice Center in lieu of $ 1 million dollars bail.

    June 28th, 1996
    A Dallas county grand jury indicted Mrs. Routier on two counts of capital murder, and a gag order was imposted on people involved in the case.

  2. #2
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    July 15th, 1996
    Prosecutors announce that they will seek the Death Penalty against Mrs. Routier.

    September 12th, 1996
    State District Judge Mark Tolle, acting on a request by Mrs. Routier's attorneys, decides to move the case out of Dallas County because of the pretrial publicity. (On Sept. 27th, he orders the trial moved to Kerrville.)

    September 26th, 1996
    In a pretrial hearing, Mr. Routier, 28, denies that he and his wife argued about finances the night of the killings. Rowlett police Detective Jimmy Ray Patterson testifies that police found blood near the sink and near the front door. But he says they found no blood near the garage window where Mrs. Routier said the intruder fled and none outside house. Detective Patterson says Mrs. Routier showed little concern for her sons when police interviewed her the morning after the attack. Defense attorney Wayne Huff suggests that
    Mrs. Routier was sedated at the time . A doctor from the medical examiner's office testifies that Mrs. Routier's wounds coulf have been self-inflicted.

    October 21st, 1996
    Jury selection begins in the cass involving Damon's death. Judge Tolle refuses to move the case back to Dallas.

    November 14th, 1996
    Seven women and five men are selected as jurors.

  3. #3
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    January 6th, 1997
    Both sides give opening statements. Mrs. Routier's attorneys say she is devoted to her children and has been traumatized by the slayings. Prosecutors say she is a selfish, cold-blooded woman who stabbed her sons because she and her husband could no longer satisfy their expensive tastes.

    January 29th, 1997
    Mrs. Routier takes the stand and denies killing her sons. She says she can't remember anything about the attack.

    February 1st, 1997
    After about seven hours of deliberation, the jury returns a fuilty verdict.

    June 1997
    A transcript of Darlie Routier's trial is due to The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

  4. #4
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    March of 1998
    The Texas Court of Appeals files a contempt judgment against court reporter Sandra Halsey for failing to complete Mrs. Routier's transcript on time, despite being granted extensions.

    April of 1998
    Ms. Halsey files the transcript with the Court of Criminal Appeals. She tells the Dallas Morning News that she nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to prepare the transcript.

    October of 1998
    The Court of Appeals orders the state District Judge Robert Francis of Dallas County to begin an independent review of the transcrip after Mrs. Routier's appellate attorneys discover discrepancies.

    November 13th, 1998
    Judge Francis orders a expert, Susan Simmons of Tyler to attempt to correct the transcript using audiotopes, stenographic notes and Ms. Halsey's version of the transcript. Attorneys for Mrs. Routier and prosectors call the independent review "unprecedent."

  5. #5
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    wind chime - move this if this is not in the right spot.

    i must say reading the above i had a thought. why in the world would a week after an "intruder" broke in to the home slaughtering the boys and almost killing darlie, would this family be free-wheeling in public, and especially darlie in hot pants if she was the supposed victim of a sex-crazed stalker.

    i don't know about you, but a horrific event like that might make me re-think my behavior and my wardrobe!!!

    no, neither darin or darlie were behaving like recently-traumatized victims just a mere week after the attack when they sprayed silly string on the graves of those children.

  6. #6
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    April of 1999
    Ms. Simmons, the court-appointed expert, testified that she believes she has reconstructed the transcript for the guilt/innocence phase of Mrs. Routier's trial. Judge Francis later adopts Ms. Simmons' reconstructed version of the transcript and officially deems Ms. Halsey's transcript seriously flawed.

    June 5th, 1999
    Ms. Halsey's professional certification was revoked by the Court Reporters Certification Board. Ms. Halsey resigned from her position on the board before her colleagues voted on her professional fate.

    October 14th, 1999
    Ms. Simmons' testified that she had reconstructed the remainder of the transcript. Prosecutors say they believe the new record is accurate and valid, but Mrs. Routier's appellate attorneys contend it's illegal and that no one can vouch for the completeness of the audiotapes.

    November 5th, 1999
    Judge Francis issues a order adopting Ms. Simmons' reconstructed version of the jury selection and pretrial matters in Mrs. Routier's case. He orders the reconstructed version to be delivered to Austin to The Court of Criminal Appeals, which must decide whether it is legally acceptable for Mrs. Routier's appeal.

    Novermber 16th, 1999
    Dallas County files a lawsuit against Ms. Halsey in a attempt to recover the money it has spent for Ms. Simmons' transcript review and reconstruction work.

    December of 1999
    After Ms. Simmons' work was delivered to the Court of Criminal Appeals, attorneys discovered two volumes had been overlooked. Judge Francis ordered Ms. Simmons' to review and correct them.

  7. #7
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    August of 2000
    Judge Francis has Darlie transported to Lew Sterrett Justice Center, at the taxpayer's expense, in preparation for a hearing scheduled for September 8th, 2000.

    September 8th, 2000
    Judge Francis cancels hearing within hours of the scheduled time. This was done after issuing 12 subpoena's, one of which was issued to Charles Lynch who now resides in the State of Virginia. Mr. Lynch was in transit when the hearing was suddenly canceled. Judge Francis then left the courthouse and could not be reached for comments.

    July 23rd, 2001
    Ms. Routier's attorney, Mr. Stephen Cooper, delivers Mrs. Routier's Direct Appeal to the TexasCourt of Criminal Appeals.

    December of 2001
    John Rolater, the appellent attorney handling Mrs. Routier's case for Dallas County, requested from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for a extension. He cites personal reasons as well as his work load.

  8. #8
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    January of 2002
    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants Mr. Rolater half the time he requested in his motion filed in December 2001. The State's response to the appellant's Direct Appeal.

    February 25th, 2002
    Mr. John R. Rolater, Jr. filed the State's brief with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

    March 26th, 2002
    Mr. Stephen Cooper filed the Appellant's response to the State's response to the Direct Appeal.

    March 27th, 2002
    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals heard Oral Arguments in Darlie's case. Now waiting for their decision.

    June of 2002
    Darlie is tranported to Lew Sterrett Justice Center in preparation for scheduled hearing to rule on motions requesting that evidence be released to the defense in order to gain forensic testing. The hearling is scheduled for July,3rd, 2002.

    July 3, 2002
    A hearing was held in Judge Francis' court in order to introduce attorneys from Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher as Routier's Writ Attorneys. At this hearing various articles of evidenc was requested by the defense for forensic testing. Judge Francis ended the hearling questioning whether he had decision making jurisdication over the evidence.

    July 12th, 2002
    The write of Habeas Corpus was filed with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

    " HABEAS CORPUS *
    Line

    HABEAS CORPUS - Lat. "you have the body" Prisoners often seek release by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another's detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error. Habeas corpus petitions are usually filed by persons serving prison sentences. In family law, a parent who has been denied custody of his child by a trial court may file a habeas corpus petition. Also, a party may file a habeas corpus petition if a judge declares her in contempt of court and jails or threatens to jail her.

    In Brown v. Vasquez, 952 F.2d 1164, 1166 (9th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 1778 (1992), the court observed that the Supreme Court has "recognized the fact that`[t]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.' Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 290-91 (1969). " Therefore, the writ must be "administered with the initiative and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and corrected." Harris, 394 U.S. at 291.

    The writ of habeas corpus serves as an important check on the manner in which state courts pay respect to federal constitutional rights. The writ is "the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 290-91 (1969). Because the habeas process delays the finality of a criminal case, however, the Supreme Court in recent years has attempted to police the writ to ensure that the costs of the process do not exceed its manifest benefits. In McCleskey the Court raised barriers against successive and abusive petitions. The Court raised these barriers based on significant concerns about delay, cost, prejudice to the prosecution, frustration of the sovereign power of the States, and the "heavy burden" federal collateral litigation places on "scarce federal judicial resources," a burden that "threatens the capacity of the system to resolve primary disputes." McCleskey, 499 U.S. at 467.

    The Court observed that"[t]he writ of habeas corpus is one of the centerpieces of our liberties. `But the writ has potentialities for evil as well as for good. Abuse of the writ may undermine the orderly administration of justice and therefore weaken the forces of authority that are essential for civilization.' " McCleskey, 499 U.S. at 496 (quoting Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 512 (1952) (opinion of Frankfurter, J.))

    The predominant inquiry on habeas is a legal one: whether the "petitioner's custody simpliciter" is valid as measured by the Constitution. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 730 (1991). The purpose of the great writ is not to relitigate state trials.

    Dismissal of habeas petition under the "total exhaustion" rule of Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 520 (1982) (each claim raised by petitioner must be exhausted before district court may reach the merits of any claim in habeas petition).

    Jury exposure to facts not in evidence deprives a defendant of the rights to confrontation, cross-examination and assistance of counsel embodied in the Sixth Amendment. Dickson v. Sullivan, 849 F.2d 403, 406 (9th Cir. 1988); see also Jeffries v. Blodgett, 5 F.3d 1180, 1191 (9th Cir. 1993) (introduction of extraneous prior bad acts evidence during deliberations constitutes error of constitutional proportions), cert. denied, 114 S.Ct. 1294 (1994). However, a petitioner is entitled to habeas relief only if it can be established that the constitutional error had "substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict." Brecht v. Abrahamson, 113 S. Ct. 1710, 1722 & n.9 (1993). Whether the constitutional error was harmless is not a factual determination entitled to the statutory presumption of correctness under 28 U.S.C. S 2254(d). Dickson, 849 F.2d at 405; Marino v. Vasquez, 812 F.2d 499, 504 (9th Cir. 1987).

    In a habeas corpus proceeding, a federal court generally "will not review a question of federal law decided by a state court if the decision of that court rests on a state law ground that is independent of the federal question and adequate to support the judgment." Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 111 S. Ct. 2546, 2553-54 (1991). This doctrine applies to bar federal habeas review when the state court has declined to address the petitioner's federal claims because he failed to meet state procedural requirements. Id. at 2254; see also Sochor v. Florida, 504 U.S. 527, 119 L. Ed. 2d 326, 337 (1992). Thus, the independent state grounds doctrine bars the federal courts from reconsidering the issue in the context of habeas corpus review as long as the state court explicitly invokes a state procedural bar rule as a separate basis for its decision. Harris v. Reed, 489 U.S. 255, 264 n.10 (1988).

    Habeas petitioners are not entitled to habeas relief based on trial error unless they can establish that it resulted in actual prejudice. O'Neal v. McAninch, 115 S. Ct. 992, 994-95 (1995). It is the responsibility of the court, once it concludes there was error, to determine whether the error affected the judgment. If the court is left in grave doubt, the conviction cannot stand. Id.

    On a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the standard of review for a claim of prosecutorial misconduct, like the standard of review for a claim of judicial misconduct, is " 'the narrow one of due process, and not the broad exercise of supervisory power.' " Darden v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 168, 181 (1986) (quoting Donnelly v. DeChristoforo, 416 U.S. 637, 642 (1974)). "The relevant question is whether the prosecutor['s] comments 'so infected the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of due process.' " Id. (quoting Donnelly, 416 U.S. at 643).

    A federal court has no supervisory authority over criminal proceedings in state courts. The only standards we can impose on the states are those dictated by the Constitution. Daye, 712 F.2d at 1571. Objectionable as some actions might be, when considered in the context of the trial as a whole they are not "of sufficient gravity to warrant the conclusion that fundamental fairness has been denied." Id. at 1572. See Gayle v. Scully, 779 F.2d at 807 (trial judge's caustic, sarcastic comments and offensive conduct, although perhaps inconsistent with institutional standards of federal courts, did not violate due process); Daye, 712 F.2d at 1572 (trial judge's skeptical attitude toward defendant's testimony, and his reinforcement of identification evidence by government witnesses, "approached but did not cross the line that permits [a ruling] that the Constitution has been violated").

    The fact that a jury instruction is inadequate by Federal Court direct appeal standards does not mean a petitioner who relies on such an inadequacy will be entitled to habeas relief from a state court conviction. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 71-72 (1991). In habeas proceedings challenging state court convictions, relief is available only for constitutional violations.

    Whether a constitutional violation has occurred will depend upon the evidence in the case and the overall instructions given to the jury. See Cupp v. Naughten, 414 U.S. at 147 (constitutionality determined not by focusing on ailing instruction "in artificial isolation" but by considering effect of instruction "in the context of the overall charge."). See also Henderson v. Kibbe, 431 U.S. 145, 155 (1977) (recognizing that "[a]n omission, or an incomplete instruction, is less likely to be prejudicial than a misstatement of the law" and, therefore, a habeas petitioner whose claim of error involves the failure to give a particular instruction bears an "especially heavy" burden).

    Shackling, except in extreme forms, is susceptible to harmless error analysis. Castillo v. Stainer, 997 F.2d at 669. In a habeas case dealing with a state court sentence, the question is whether the shackling "had substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict." Id. (quoting Brecht v. Abrahamson, 113 S. Ct. 1710, 1714 (1993)). If we are in "grave doubt" whether the error affected the verdict, the error is not harmless. O'Neal v. McAninch, 115 S. Ct. 992, 994 (1995).

    The risk of doubt, however, is on the state. Id. at 996 (rejecting language in Brecht v. Abrahamson which places on defendant burden of showing prejudice). See Castillo v. Stainer, 983 F.2d at 149 (finding shackling at trial harmless error because defendant only wore waist chain that could not be seen by jury).

  9. #9
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    January of 2003
    Mr. John R. Rolater, Jr. filed the State's response to the defendant's Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    February 28th, 2003
    The defense files their response to the State's response to Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    May 21st, 2003
    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Darlie Routier's conviction

    You can review that decision by clicking on the link below.
    http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/72795.htm