Sen. Larry Craig: Court Denies Plea Withdrawal

Bad news for Sen. Larry Craig. The court has denied his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

“Because the defendant’s plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence ... the Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied,” Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote.

Here's the Order (pdf).

The question now: Will Craig appeal?

Update: Craig will not resign before the end of his term.

< TX Judge Closes Courthouse, Prevents Death Appeal | Joseph Wilson on Hillary and Iran >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Hypocrisy (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:09:22 AM EST
    Senator Craig is guilty. Senator Craig committed lewd acts in a public restroom. Senator Craig should not be permitted to retain his seat in the Senate. He is supposed to be a lawmaker. If he was innocent, he should have shouted from the treetops, "They're making false arrests in Minnesota! The police are abusing their power! I have been treated unfairly!" Instead he tried to cover it up. Senator Craig is no leader.

    Picking up a piece of toilet paper off a public restroom floor? Unh unh. No way. Nobody touches anything in a public restroom, unless they want to catch a contagious disease. Unh unh. This guy is full of brown smudged toilet paper.

    I think.... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 08:40:59 AM EST
    he was cuffed by the crapper-cop before he had the chance to commit a lewd act.

    Democrats and Gays (1.00 / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 08:23:19 PM EST
    How much media play would this story get if Barney Frank had been arrested in a similar situation?

    Republicans and Bathroom Soliciation (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by glanton on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 10:30:19 PM EST
    Is a profitable, poignant, and most of all fun story for the media to play because it undermines the GOP's annoying blatherings about how "Father Knows Best" their America is.

    Because now people are laughing at Larry Craig the self-righteous a$$hat.  Which is both fun and makes money.  It has also gotten a lot of people to go back and look at some of his past interviews and realize that he should have been laughed out of office years ago.

    None of this would be the case if it were Barney Frank.

    Stay alert, and stay with Fox.


    I'd guess (none / 0) (#12)
    by Adept Havelock on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 09:14:01 PM EST
    Probably a little different, as Senator Frank is publicly gay.

    The angle of "trolling in the bathrooms" would likely be a story still, as the remarkable fact (IMO) was that it was a US Senator.


    One of the benefits.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 08:39:41 AM EST
    of admitting to yourself that you're gay, like Frank, is that you don't have to cruise the john for a date.

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#20)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:09:24 PM EST
    No openly, self-admitted, whatever, gay guys go looking for love in the loo? Seems hard to believe, but what the hell do I know.

    Just a guess.... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:46:19 PM EST
    it seems like the place self-loathers would go to get laid.

    Openly gay people can go to gay bars...not an option for Craig.


    Calling it "voluntary" is a stretch..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 02:27:51 PM EST
    It's like saying paying taxes is voluntary.  Sure, you don't have to volunteer your money, but then the men with the guns come.  

    Same with Craig, if he didn't plead guilty the state would have made his life even more miserable.

    Nice try Larry (none / 0) (#2)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:05:02 PM EST
    Next time lawyer up before you plead guilty. Isn't that what you legal eagles implore any semi intelligent client to do?

    But stupid jerks like this coninue to believe they are above the law. The judge saw right through his give-me-a-do-over tacticts. Good on you, judge.

    "Semi-intelligent client" is, in his (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:31:47 PM EST
    case, not appropriate.  He's a Senator, and pretty intelligent.  It's not a matter of intelligence.

    Rather, he pleaded because of his fear - of disclosure, etc., regardless of whether he was gay or not.  He tried to get out from under it and I think (and thought) his lawyers did about as well with the case he handed them, as they could.

    But even if he is to leave the Senate now (given his previous change of direction on quitting this is not a foregone conclusion), he has given us, and his party, the benefit of a new term in the language, together with context:  a "wide stance" in a Minneapolis-St. Paul airport mens' room.  And, his grateful party is running with both the term, and the idea, as seen in the logo for the coming 2008 RNC Convention in ... Minneapolis.
    And, no, I'm not kidding.  That's the real logo.


    SEEE? He's no dummy! (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:43:37 PM EST
    He knows that, if he leaves the Senate, he (a) will be a laughingstock, (b) won't be able to get a job nearly as good, (c) will be deemed to have admitted his gayness, and (d) won't have any more power.  So, per his office's announcement this afternoon, he's going to stay in the Senate and finish this term.

    He says he's going to retire when this term is over, but a month ago, he was (supposedly) going to quit immediately.  Then it was by the end of the month, yadda, yadda.

    Here's from the press release:

    "I am extremely disappointed with the ruling issued today. I am innocent of the charges against me. I continue to work with my legal team to explore my additional legal options.

    "I will continue to serve Idaho in the United States Senate, and there are several reasons for that. As I continued to work for Idaho over the past three weeks here in the Senate, I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively.

    So, to answer TL's question - "exploring additional legal options" reads like "of course I'm going to appeal"....


    Yeh, he's got to stay in the Senate because... (none / 0) (#7)
    by desertswine on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 04:01:11 PM EST
    "I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee -- something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate."

    he sez.


    I don't like (none / 0) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:32:48 PM EST
    the way the court made such a conclusory finding that simply circling "am not represented by counsel" constitutes advisement and waiver of the right to counsel, but considering the way Craig's brief  just barely broached the issue  it's maybe not surprising the court paid the issue little mind.

      I assume decisions by this level of court have no precedential value in Minnesota (Is it Eric who is from there? Can you confirm?) and I still think the lack of advisement and waiver of the right to counsel argument could be strong if presented competently.

    not precedent (none / 0) (#6)
    by eric on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:53:36 PM EST
    Correct, this decision would not be precedent for any future case.  One is always free to present a district court order as persuasive if the facts are similar, but that's it.

    I don't think Craig really thought the waiver of counsel argument was a winner so that was not a major part of his argument.  I think that is correct, but he really didn't have much to go on outside of that argument, either.  In my view, Judge Porter would have looked to the letters and conversations outside of the plea agreement, along with Craig's background, and found that he was not deprived of his right to counsel.  On the other hand, the waiver is an explicit requirement, if I recall, and it could have been argued a little more fully.  It certainly gets more traction, in my opinion, than attacking the conduct and the disorderly conduct statute.

    I am not suprised by the Court's ruling.  Judge Porter did a very good job with the Memorandum, as well.  It shows a reasoned and thorough analysis.  I don't see an appeal coming.


    Not just "little mind" (none / 0) (#10)
    by Beldar on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 05:31:09 PM EST
    The opinion contains no reference at all to Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure 15.02 or 15.03. None.

    The memorandum opinion (none / 0) (#16)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 07:07:23 AM EST
      does not cite the rules but it does (p. 18) make the finding that he waived the right to counsel by circling "not represented."

     My point is that if Craig had more directly attacked the validity of the waiver on the grounds the record does not establish he was expressly advised of his CONSTITUTIONAL  right to be represented by counsel, the court would likely have not dismissed any such claim in such cursory fashion.

      There is a difference between knowing one is permitted to have counsel and knowing one has a constitutional right to have counsel. Maybe this is an argument that only appeals to criminal defense lawyers but i still feel it was by far his best one and one that was very poorly prsented. (Although I do think it remains preseved for appeal if just barely).


    I think we agree (none / 0) (#23)
    by Beldar on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 05:20:53 PM EST
    Oh, I agree entirely that the 15.02 argument was by far the best argument he had -- much better than anything else he urged.  Given that Judge Porter's opinion doesn't even cite to the rule, however, if he wants to preserve that argument for appeal, he probably needs to move for rehearing in the trial court, specifically urging that argument.  (That's just my guess; I'm not admitted in MN, don't know the state procedural rules or rules for preserving appellate error, but in Texas or federal practice, that's what you'd need to do.)

    What is the deadline for filing (none / 0) (#8)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 04:01:59 PM EST
     a notice of appeal? Is it tolled by the filing of a motion to reconsider? how long generally from the docketing of an appeal until 1) the appellant's brief is due? 2) appellee's brief? 3) reply brief? 4) scheduling of argument? 5) a decision by the reviewing court? does his appeal lie to an intermediate court and is any decision by that court subject to appeal to the Supreme Coet of Mn?

      I ask these part out of curiousity and part because it seems quite possible he could drag this out until after his term expires if wants to do it? I know pwoplw will say yhat would be insane and just keep attention on this humiliating episode but that hasn't stopped him yet.


    timeline (none / 0) (#9)
    by Beldar on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 05:25:58 PM EST
    Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey was predicting  earlier this week that Craig wanted to lose this ruling precisely because it will allow him to continue appellate proceedings through the end of his term without having to face an intervening trial. His sources project that it will take until about January 2009 for Craig to exhaust his state-court remedies.  (Of course, there's always federal habeas — the Great Writ for this Great Wanker.)

    He did appeal, that's what started this trouble (none / 0) (#14)
    by jerry on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 11:10:02 PM EST
    He should stop appealing, at least not in public restrooms.

    Lewd or not lewd? (none / 0) (#19)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 11:38:48 AM EST
    In my opinion, in a public restroom the following acts constitute lewd behavior:
    1. Staring at someone you've never met for 2 minutes through the crack in the locked door while they are sitting on the pot.
    2. Exhibiting behavior that is common and accepted protocol for gay sex in public restrooms (running your hand back and forth under a strange person's stall, moving your foot from your space into theirs and tapping their foot with your foot)

    with the flying imams? Quite the cast of characters out there in Viking-land...