Sen. Larry Craig Filing: His Conduct Was Constitutionally Protected

Lawyers for Sen. Larry Craig filed their "Statement of the Case" (pdf) yesterday in the appeal from the court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

They have added a argument that his conduct was constitutionally protected and the statute under which he was charged is overbroad. The ACLU previously included this argument in a friend of court brief on his behalf.

His arguments now:

  • the disorderly conduct statute is unconstitutional as applied to the facts of Craig's case
  • the plea was not accurate, voluntary or intelligent
  • the evidence was insufficient to support the plea
  • the plea is invalid because the judge never signed anything approving it.

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    Poor Craig.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:15:25 PM EST
    as if the man hasn't been through enough...now he's got the evil ACLU fighting on his behalf.  

    BTW...I would certainly hope tapping your foot in a wide stance in constitutionally protected conduct.

    It might be constitutionally protected (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 04:14:04 PM EST
    to tap your foot or whatever, but I don't recall him raising any constitutional defenses against the prosecution anywhere in his previous filings.  (I could be wrong on that, but I think I'm right.)  If he didn't, I'd suppose he has a tough road ahead of him in the appellate courts, with the Scylla of "waiver" and the Charybdis of "not raised below" looming ahead of his little balsa raft.

    The only one of those bullet points I can see that might (might) get around those is the "judge didn't sign it" one - if you raise that below, the judge will likely say "Oh.  Thank you." and then sign it.  

    This is just going to drag it out further.  Good entertainment value, I suppose, but there are more wholesome entertainments out there.

    Like Deadeye Dick going pheasant hunting again....
    If he can't get Iranians killed, birds are likely the best alternative he can get.  But, the man has to kill something.

    Torn (none / 0) (#4)
    by fishbane on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 08:24:01 PM EST
    Hm. Point one makes sense to me. I might not like him, but I don't think "Wanna do it" in either verbal or nonverbal forms should be a crime.

    The other three points are, I think, silly. 4 is a procedural dodge, but sure, he has the right to bring it up, if it helps him. I don't understand what 3 could mean - a plea is a plea. as for 2:

    "the plea was not accurate, voluntary or intelligent"

    Well, the last of those I could believe. (I'm not familiar with the law, but this has to be referring to precedent. The link to the PDF of the case was 404, so I I'll have to go looking for it to know more.)

    which link was 404? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 09:45:40 PM EST
    the pdf file of the pleading opens in Adobe in firefox and internet explorer -- if you are on a MAC, trying opening in adobe.  

    My mistake (none / 0) (#7)
    by fishbane on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:48:19 AM EST
    It isn't 404 - it just looked that way. What appears to be going on on my Mac (using Safari or Mozilla) is that the PDF appears to be wrapped in an HTML template. If I "download this link", I get an HTML page with your header and sidebar, the issue appears to be that Object tag with the nested Embed...Noembed. If I go directly to docs-fileonly/craigstatement.pdf, I get the file. Which I'm now reading with my Saturday morning coffee.

    With Mac (1.00 / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:42:17 AM EST
    For PDF's push and hold control (apple) and click while the mouse is on the link. You will get a dropdown menu to download the file. Control/Click is handy for other things as wel. I think it is like right clicking (or left) on a PC.

    is anyone fighting for iron clad (none / 0) (#6)
    by seabos84 on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:30:02 PM EST
    legislation to keep the state out of stupid crap like this?

    that strikes me as a better fight than all this manouver-ery (sp) stuff,

    cuz ya know what?

    ya know who has access to man-ouver-ery stuff?

    NOT ME. I can't afford the representation for any manny-ouvres other than plead guilty and hope I don't get any time.  and I'll get different if some legal eagles see me as the next map vs. ohio ?? yeah, that is worth holding my breath for.


    Constitutionality will NEVER be reached (none / 0) (#9)
    by Beldar on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:40:53 PM EST
    Craig didn't raise himself, or adopt, the ACLU's arguments because they're all founded on the notion that as applied, the disorderly conduct statute is being used to criminalize constitutionally protected conduct that amounted to protected "speech" (even though no words were used).  Those arguments are logically inconsistent with his factual premise that he wasn't soliciting a sexual encounter.  (He claims he wasn't trying to communicate anything.

    This looks to me like a procedural, rather than a substantive, filing: Names, dates, players, issues, basically just stuff that goes on the cover sheet in the appellate file.  So it's not certain that his lawyers will actually try to re-urge on appeal (via their substantive brief(s) on the merits) the arguments that the ACLU made in its amicus brief.

    But if they do try, they'll fail.  Craig has waived the arguments by not raising them in the trial court, and there is now ZERO chance that they will  become a ground for his guilty-plea-based conviction to be overturned on appeal.