Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Delay's Indictment Constitutional?
I'm certainly absolutely ignorant in this area, but I had a vague feeling that a person had to be actually indicted for some specific charge before he or she could be brought to trial? Amendment V:
Amendment VIs this unconstitutionally vague? The indictment doesn't seem to actually accuse Delay of anything specific. It names three persons (the two previously indicted plus Delay), and then it goes on to say that "the defendants herein, with the intent that a felony be committed, did enter into an agreement with one or more of each other or with a general purpose political committee known as Texans for a Republican Majority PAC" etc.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
It does name various specific political contributions and presumably illegal deeds of the two previously indicted, but it never gets down to actually specifically saying that Delay himself did anything. There are specific charges against the other two defendants, but nothing against Delay.
I've read the thing four times now. Can Delay be constitutionally brought to trial under this indictment? It does not actually state that Delay conspired with the either of the other two or the PAC. I'm no constitutional lawyer, but for the requirement of an indictment to serve as a constitutional protection it must actually mean that a specific allegation has been presented and returned as valid by the grand jury. I do not know that the language is specific enough to qualify as having done that. "We think he had something to do with it, or may have" is about all that this amounts to.
I haven't been following the details of this story at all, but now I am suspicious that this is a politically motivated prosecution.
Neither of which reflect any way but poorly on him.
The fact our state laws leads a local District Attorney (and the one for far and away the most liberal part of the state) to prosecute statewide happenings is just ridiculous.
If Delay actually did anything, I say prosecute him. But I think you first have to indict him for something specific.Astuteblogger thinks the charge is absolutely unfounded.
And Earle has said before he wanted to indict Delay to force him to step down from his leadership position. From where I am, the problem is I think Earle would prosecute Delay if he could, guilt or evidence wouldn't be relevant.
Truthfully, prosecutors with all sorts of agendas can use their power as a political weapon.
Is it true that Earle (I caught something on the radio) talked about indicting Delay in front of a Democratic gathering? If so, I think he has ethical problems.
He could not exist outside of Travis county. The same county where Dan Rather's daughter is a player in the Dem party.
If they really have the goods on him, they should prosecute. The temptation to use the criminal justice system as a political weapon is so extreme that it should be carefully scrutinized.
The monies were accounted for all along the way, separate bank accounts were all open to audit, etc. There were no bags of cash and no midnight meetings under the fifth oak tree west of the largest boulder on the north wall.
Something isn't right, here. Dingo, Boomr or another lawyer need to explain this further.
I don't feel like I have looked into the case well enough to know whether there was even an underlying offense, but this is looking odd. I don't think Delay should get special treatment because of his position, but that cuts both ways too.
SC&A, I have been reading a few people who I think are objective, and it does seem fishy.
As for the timing, the speculation is that one of the other people indicted have flipped and is now cooperating with the DA against DeLay.
BTW, Mattox has actually defended Earle on the indictment saying that while Earle may not be the best DA in the world, his motivations are not partisan.
Tommy, the reason an Austin DA has the jurisdiction is because most likely the PAC was located in Austin. Since Austin is the capital, Earle is going to have jurisdiction over much of the political prosecutions.
I don't get that part- everything was done in the open! What am I missing?
And, BTW, it was not all done in the open. Not all of the transfers were reported and not all of the funds were used for the legal purposes and it looks like a lot of the motovation for the solicitation was on the up and up.
To say there is political bad blood and a willingness to bend the rules to get an indictment is an understatement. I don't like Delay, and my initial thoughts are that he is probably guilty as charged, and that the Austin DA is more crooked than has been alleged as well.
I do know that there is a lot of bad blood right now. I had two Texan friends in law school and both were pissed about the democrats leaving town. One because he was a republican and wanted the redistricting. The other was democrat and pissed off because the Dems had to leave town in the first place for a redistricting that should never have happened. I still remember the heated debate those two had over dinner.
Hmmm... I wonder if that restaurant will still be there the next time I go back to New Orleans. We had a lot of good debates there.
As for redistricting, I have to say we in GA have suffered horribly from it. It's one of the reasons why the Dems were voted out. I know districts have to be redrawn for the census, but it should not be done on purely political grounds and it now is by whichever party is in ascendance in a state at the time. Before the R's redistricted in TX the D's did, so it is not like this is a D/R issue.
This is one more thing (like the pork) for which people in every shade of the political spectrum should challenge their politicians.
When it comes to actions that can be defended as ethical and "democratic" neither side in this particular fight has a leg to stand on.
In defense of the Dems though, this isn't anything new for them, back when they were the only party in the state they were known for having different groups leave Austin to prevent something from being passed by their own party. It's nastier now because before it was sort of an in house Democrat thing, but now it gets pretty unpleasant.
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