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Dallas Judge Removed After Ruling Executions Illegal

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DALLAS (AP) - A North Texas judge has been removed from presiding over a death penalty case after ruling that the state law allowing the penalty is unconstitutional.

An administrative judge sided with Dallas County prosecutors that state District Judge Teresa Hawthorne should be removed from the Roderick Harris capital murder case. Administrative Judge John Ovard ruled that Hawthorne should be removed because of personal beliefs she had expressed about the death penalty.

The Dallas Morning News reports Hawthorne ruled last month that the Texas death penalty law is unconstitutional because it allows prosecutors to seek the penalty arbitrarily.

Harris is accused of fatally shooting Alfredo and Carlos Gallardo during a robbery at a southeast Dallas mobile home in March 2009, then getting into a shootout with police.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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