Tom DeLay's Lawyer Confident of Appeal Outcome

Dick DeGuerin, Tom DeLay's lawyer, is confident DeLay's conviction will be reversed on appeal. First there's the legal argument on the money laundering statute, which includes. [More..]

Then there's the issue surrounding the political motivation of then-DA Ronnie Earle. DeGuerin says a "quirk" in TX law allows a DA to bring charges against any elected official in the state:

It's crazy, if they wanted to have some sort of office of public prosecutor of elected officials, that should be an office that is elective and responsive to the people of Travis County," he said.

Dick and Ronnie Earle go way back, to the case of Kay Bailey Hutchinson, which Dick won. Dick says the appeal will take years. (The case took over six years to go to trial. An overview from the Austin Statesman is here.)

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    I hope true justice is served (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 12:37:13 PM EST
    If he got genuinely railroaded, then reverse this conviction.

    Still, there is one thing I am more confident of than ever -- Tom DeLay is still a giant asshat.

    Maybe he decided "Citizens United" (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 07:15:29 PM EST
    applies to the states. (snk.)

    It is also pretty clear that Texas law allows (none / 0) (#16)
    by kramartini on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:32:09 PM EST
    corporate money to be used for certain purposes. See Election Code Section 257.002.

    A political party or auxiliary can collect both corporate and non-corporate money so long as it is kept segregated, and so long as the corporate money is used only for certain restricted purposes.

    This is precisely what DeLay and company did. The TRMPAC corporate money sent to the RNC was treated in precisely the manner required by Texas law. The prosecutors were so blinded by their desire to get DeLay that they never allowed themselves to see this.

    And the grand jury had no time to understand the facts or the law, since they handed down the indictment less than an hour after being sworn in.


    Lawyers are always confident (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 12:39:27 PM EST
    Tell me who is on the appellate panel and then we can judge if the confidence is well placed.

    Can't ever recall a lawyer announcing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 04:08:36 PM EST
    publicly he expected to lose the appeal he/she just filed.

    Aren't the judges on Texas state appellate courts (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 01:54:02 PM EST
    all elected?  And aren't all those judges Republicans, at this time, at least on the highest court (the Court of Criminal Appeals)?

    There are 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats on (none / 0) (#14)
    by kramartini on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:55:50 PM EST
    the Third District Court of Appeals, which will be the first to hear DeLay's appeal.

    If my math is right, then there is an 80% chance that at least 2 out of 3 of the justices on the panel will be Republicans.

    Three of them, Jones(D), Rose(R) and Goodwin(R) were elected (or appointed) after the first set of DeLay-related cases went through that court, so we don't know where they stand.

    The Court of Criminal Appeals, which is Texas's highest court for criminal cases (the Texas Supreme Court has no criminal jurisdiction) is all Republican.


    A few clues (none / 0) (#12)
    by kramartini on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:36:42 PM EST
    By reading the various opinions and dissents in the 2008 opinion Ex Parte Ellis, 279 S.W.3d 1, one can deduce that Pemberton(R) is pro-DeLay (having been on the panel that went out of its way to rule, in what is now dicta after review by the Court of Criminal Appeals, that checks did not constitute "proceeds" under 2002 money-laundering law) and that Henson(D) is anti-DeLay (going equally out of her way in her dissent on the denial of en banc re-hearing to argue that checks did constitute "proceeds", when she could have just done what Justice Patterson did and criticized the panel for its excesses, without engaging in excess of her own.)

    Also, Puyear's (R) vote against re-hearing en banc and failure to criticize the excesses of the panel decision might tag him as pro-DeLay.

    Jones (D), Goodwin(R) and Rose(R) were not on the Court at the time of the Ellis decision, so we can't deduce where they stand.


    I don't understand his comment (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 02:22:11 PM EST
    It's crazy, if they wanted to have some sort of office of public prosecutor of elected officials, that should be an office that is elective and responsive to the people of Travis County," he said.

    The District Attorney of Travis County (which Ronnie Earle was), IS an elected position. He is elected by and responsive to (wait for it) the people of Travis County. It is within the purview of the Travis DA's Special Prosecution Unit (formerly, the Public Integrity Unit) to prosecute these kinds of crimes. While it is unusal that the AG doesn't do it, here's a simple explanation:

    Texas law does not allow the Attorney General to prosecute infractions dealing with state campaigns or crimes against the state; instead, that responsibility lies with the Travis County DA office via the state's Public Integrity Unit.

    But his comment still makes no sense.

    DeGuerin clearly mis-spoke (none / 0) (#13)
    by kramartini on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:42:09 PM EST
    I think what he meant to say was that the prosecutor  shouldn't be elected ONLY by the people of Travis County, but should be elected state-wide.

    I don't think anyone can really justify the current set-up whereby the DA of a single county is responsible for a task that has state-wide implications.


    Do you suppose (none / 0) (#5)
    by ytterby on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 02:47:02 PM EST
    that people like DeLay say to themselves, "Gee, I wish I hadn't pushed so hard for stricter sentencing..."

    I know, right? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by sj on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 04:04:52 PM EST
    I don't get that either.  It's like the laws aren't affecting "real people" until it's them or their family.

    Maybe DeLay (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 04:04:04 PM EST
    will run for Senate.  You watch if he wouldn't win.

    He would NOT win. Snowball's chance in hell. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Angel on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 06:55:52 PM EST
    DeLay would have no chance nor any interest (none / 0) (#15)
    by kramartini on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:58:14 PM EST
    in being a US Senator. Not his style. He prefers the rough-and-tumble of the House to the more collegial Senate.

    I was being snarky (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:11:15 AM EST
    I'm still rooting for his appeal to fail.