Democrats & Liberals Archives

DeLay Wants an Unfair Trial

Unfair to us Democrats, that is. Apparently, DeLay thinks that only Conservatives should judge Conservatives.

I know many Republicans on this site are going to defend this attempt at further politicizing our judicial branch, but this is going too far. There is no provision in the constitution for the freedom to determine the political loyalties of your judge and jury. The best you can be guaranteed is a jury of your peers, the civil liberties that belong to everybody, and the due process of law.

The Judge in this case is an elected official. He gained his office by legitimate means and is due the respect that any person should accord an official of the court, whichever side of the aisle he hails from. If the Judge misapplies the law out of political prejudice, that is grounds for an appeal.

I would be ashamed to see one of my own fellow Democrats try this sort of crap. It reflects the worst kind of partisan politics, where legitimate authority under the constitution is denied over party differences. There is not one law for Democrats, and one for Republicans, there is one republic for all, with everybody subject to the rule of law.

DeLay should not get to pick the politics of the venue he is tried in. What DeLay is asking for is for his case to be tried on his politics. What he is indicted for in this case is not his politics, but his behavior in regard to the law. Either the evidence will fall short of the standard of reasonable doubt, or DeLay will be convicted in a court of law.

Before you folks on the Red Column start loading the shells into the breeches of your big guns, consider this: should a Democrat under indictment be given the benefit of a politically friendly judge and venue in a politically charged case? Cannot Democrats judge Republicans, and Republicans judge Democrats? Do we want to set the precedent of dividing our legal system along a bright line of political loyalty?

Or do we want a system where we are equal under the law, regardless of political party? The answer to that question will determine whether we remain a nation united, or whether we break apart into political splinters to satisfy the power-lust of those who can actually look at their own country and see enemy territory within its borders.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 12:18 PM
Comments
Comment #87017

Did you hear their argument? Delay’s lawyer, DeGuerin, claimed that the Judge gave money to MoveOn.org. In fact it was priceless they way the lawyer phrased it.

“(He) donated money to MoveOn.org, a liberal organization that he said has been selling T-shirts with Mr. DeLay’s mug shot on it.”

“Let me just say I haven’t ever seen that T-shirt, number one. Number two, I haven’t bought it. Number three, the last time I contributed to MoveOn that I know of was prior to the November election last year, when they were primarily helping Sen. Kerry,” responded the judge.

MoveOn.org denied it was selling any such shirts, and issued a statement that said, “DeGuerin has either bad information or lied in court.”

Posted by: john trevisani at October 21, 2005 12:50 PM
Comment #87021

Interesting post, Stephen. I’m old enough to remember the highly entertaining trial of the Chicago 7, in which they claimed that the middle-aged jury who were empanelled to try them weren’t really “a jury of their their peers”. That claim was (justifiably) turned down, as should DeLay’s motion be.

This kind of tactic isn’t new for Republicans. Earlier this year, Washington state Republicans went to court to try to overturn the result of the extremely close gubernatorial election. They HAND-CHOSE the court in which to present their case. The result? Their hand-picked judge threw out every single one of their claims and denied every one of their allegations. So even if DeLay DOES get away with a slimy tactic like this, it doesn’t mean that he’ll get off.

Oh, wait a minute. Tom Delay and slimy tactics - isn’t that redundant? :-)

Delay’s excuse for his behavior is that “everybody does it.” I quit letting my son get away with a lame excuse like that when he was four years old. Apparently, DeLay thinks we’re ALL four years old.

Posted by: ElliottBay at October 21, 2005 1:08 PM
Comment #87025

Stephen,

The fact that the request was made, allows us to to see just how untouchable Delay, Frist, Rove, Libby and the President think they are.
Our government is in a sad state.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 21, 2005 1:32 PM
Comment #87027

Elliot

Everybody does do it. In this case that is valid point to make.

Sometimes the trial will not be fair with a particular judge or jury. Remember when they retried the Rodney King defendants? Didn’t many of you guys question whether Judge Roberts should be on the bench because of some of his associations? If a judge is a judge, why do you care?

The merits of this particular request will be judged within the law. The request for a different judge is just another non-issue. You guys keep up bringing up these things that don’t really matter and making them sound like the most important thing in the world. Requests for changes of judges or even whole venue changes are routine, especially in a politically charged case like this.

There is a bottom line. If Delay is convicted, I will be reasonably sure he did something illegal. If he is found not guilty, I expect you guys to lay off and maybe reasonably ask why the indictment was brought in the first place. It seems to be the habit of liberals to pile on before the verdicts are in and then melt away when nothing can be proven. Oh these very pages I repeated that same thing about the Ohio vote – much talk, many anecdotes, no evidence that can stand up to close scrutiny. In the PR world, there is often a lot more smoke than fire.

Posted by: Jack at October 21, 2005 2:04 PM
Comment #87028

OK, I can see where you all think that requesting another judge is a slimy tactic.

But…if you were accused of a felony…wouldn’t you request another judge that’s more sympathetic to your situation? Wouldn’t you seek the most favorable persons to aid your case? Wouldn’t you want the most sympathetic jury you could get?

Sure you would…and don’t lie through your teeth and say, “No, I wouldn’t”.

Is it a slimy tactic?

Well, let me ask a question.


Are lawyers involved?

Posted by: Jim T at October 21, 2005 2:08 PM
Comment #87030

Asking for another judge is not NECESSARILY slimy, by itself. But, when a slimeball does somthing, one assumes it is a slimy action.

OK, seriously, my gripe with this is not that he asked for a different judge, it was the reason he used. First, having donated to a PAC in the past is not a good reason for recusal. Didn’t we learn that Harriet Miers donated to Al Gore? Haven’t we heard over and over again that a judge’s personal feelings and political affiliations are irrelevant to their abilities to impartially judge a case based on facts?

Second, the lawyer used erroneous information (read: a lie) to support his case. The t-shirt is being sold by an entirely different PAC.

Posted by: moneysh at October 21, 2005 2:16 PM
Comment #87031

Good article Stephen…

I agree with you that there is no reason that one should not get another judge strictly based on politics. There is a reason that judges are judges. Because they have been proven to be able to set aside their “feelings” and base their judgments off of the facts of the case and legal precedent.

I don’t know what the outcome of the trial will be but IMO the change of the judge should not be allowed based off of the reason provided in the article you linked above.

Now, just for the sake of argument (since that is what we do here)… Explain how this differs from the Democrats threatening to fillabuster a Supreme Court nominee because of their political beliefs in the past? If your trusting that ALL of the judges of this land will always put their “feelings” aside and judge using only facts and legal precedent then why does it matter if they are lean Conservative or Liberal? If “a judge is a judge is a judge” is your logic in this case then why all the posturing over Supreme Court nominees?

My guess is that you will say the difference is that they are nominated/confirmed and not elected. But that begs the question… At what point does a previously elected judge (I am not including those who have not been actual judges before such as Mrs Myers) become “tainted” if they are then nominated to the Supreme Court and therefore become worthy of a fillabuster? This is not likely to happen this time because of the people that Bush has nominated but if it had been a “proven conservative” that he nominated would you still have the same stance that “a judge is a judge is a judge”? Would you have then been ashamed of those people fillabustering? They would seem to be doing the same thing as Delay and his lawyer are doing if you ask me.

Posted by: BradM at October 21, 2005 2:16 PM
Comment #87032
Second, the lawyer used erroneous information (read: a lie) to support his case. The t-shirt is being sold by an entirely different PAC.

Sounds to me like Delay should get another lawyer. It was a 4 minute hearing and the guy already screwed up. Not a good sign IMO.

Posted by: BradM at October 21, 2005 2:20 PM
Comment #87034

Jack,
C’mon. “Everybody does it” is a lame excuse. You know it and so do I. And I refuse to accept that EVERYONE does it. If you have evidence to back up such a claim, let’s see it.

Posted by: ElliottBay at October 21, 2005 2:22 PM
Comment #87035

Jack-
One would prefer a sympathetic judge, but beyond the need to maintain a fair trial and an absence of conflicts of interest, the politics of the judge should just be something one has to live with.

I brought it up because his request seems symbolic of the divisive harm that the GOP leadership has inflicted on this country. It may be expected, but it’ll be a sad day in America if he gets what he wants.

As for when and what can be proven? The court of law is only one place where things can be proven, and a specialized place at that. If you Republicans wait until wrongdoing is convicted in a court of law to become concerned or outraged, it will be next to impossible to keep your leaders honest, because they will get away with much before they are caught, tried, and convicted.

Jim T.-
Defense lawyers can and will try a lot. What concerns me is whether or not he succeeds in this request. As it is, though, I don’t think it’s a smart move. I’d rather not insult the judge I might be depending upon to decide the merits of my case before I even get a chance to see trial.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 2:28 PM
Comment #87036
If he is found not guilty, I expect you guys to lay off and maybe reasonably ask why the indictment was brought in the first place.

Boy, I wish you guys had done that when the Senate acquitted Clinton.

Posted by: steve K at October 21, 2005 2:43 PM
Comment #87037

Delay will not go quietly. He is, IMO, completely insane and addicted to power.

Since this has come up, I hope he gets a conservative judge. Any judge will be sensitive to criticism that he is favoring his poilitical interests - and by human nature, will lean the other way.

He deserves to hang. As with most corruption, he will never be charged with the vast majority of his unethical actions.

Posted by: Ms Schwamp at October 21, 2005 2:47 PM
Comment #87041

Brad M.-
The difference is this: Under the constitution, in that courtroom, DeLay’s status is equal to anybody else who enters that courtroom as a defendant No worse, and certainly No better. He cannot and should not be granted special favors simply because he is part of a political party that is rival to the judges. That would just be a corruption of a process that is supposed to look at guilt and innocence, not measure things by party politics.

The Senators, on the other hand, are specially privileged to make decisions on matters of who becomes a judge by the constitution. Being that their purpose in the legislature is to represent their constituents, the filibustering only represents what their voters want them to do: stave off the worst of Bush’s ideologues.

That they do it through parliamentary tricks may not seem the most democratic way by certain standards, but then the rules of order are put in place explicitly to give folks in the minority the chance to have their voice heard, and in the absence of a flexible majority willing to go separate ways sometimes, the Filibuster is sometimes the only way to get their views out there, and push the matter of the extremity of these judges out there.

In short, these are different systems, with different rules. The constitution grants legislators power to choose judges, and debate that choice. It doesn’t grant defendants the right to sympathetic judges. It only grants that they see justice, one way or the other.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 3:04 PM
Comment #87044

Stephen,
Yes, most defense lawyers will try almost anything to get their client off. I know that if I’m ever charged with a felony, I would want my lawyer to try every trick in the book and then some to get me acquitted!

DeLay’s lawyer filed not only a motion to recuse, but a change of venue motion. Seems (for some unknown reason) that they DON’T want…under any circumstances…this judge.

Perhaps they filed these motions so that the public would know exactly where the judge’s loyalties lie.

Perhaps, as Ms Schwamp so *aply* pointed out, this judge will now go out of his way just to prove that he’s not being bias.

Anyway…here’s the links for the motions that were filed…

Change of Venue
Motion to recuse

Posted by: Jim T at October 21, 2005 3:27 PM
Comment #87046

Let me first say, Delay should not be allowed a different judge.
But
Look at the 2000 election debacle, the U.S. Supreme Court “Judges” annoingted the Bush to the presidencey, overturning the Election Laws of Florida, and stopping an honest recount of the votes.

Oh Well, Oh Well,…..

Posted by: HereticSpeaks at October 21, 2005 3:35 PM
Comment #87049

Oh…my…God.

I posted the links to the motions without reading them.

I didn’t know about this judge’s contibution record. Or about the timing of his contributions. If you all haven’t read these…then you definately need to.

I can now truly understand WHY DeLay wants to get out of Travis County, Texas.

YIKES! Can anyone say, “Da fix is in”?

Posted by: Jim T at October 21, 2005 3:45 PM
Comment #87052

For those of you defending this tactic, I want you to seriously think about what you’re saying. While DeLay has accused Ronnie Earle of being partisan, DeLay, himself, is doing exactly what he claims Earle is doing. This is hypocrisy.

Moreover, his perceived RIGHT to do this is if he can prove the judge has a conflict of interest. He considers political philosophy a conflict of interest? He considers a partisanship HE created a conflict of interest?

Sure, you can certainly justify it any way you want. Hell, lawyers bend the law every day, but you’re being short sighted when you don’t actually read what Stephen wrote. This is a precedent of unlimited negative potential that may not be limited in the future to political affiliation. This is creating inequality and a lack of trust in the judicial system. I guess it goes hand in hand with the handling of Katrina and the nomination of Harriet Miers, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Posted by: TJD at October 21, 2005 3:54 PM
Comment #87056

I guess DeLay has nothing against “Activist Judges” as long as they are his activist.

Posted by: chantico at October 21, 2005 4:01 PM
Comment #87060

My daughter, who lives in Austin, has been complaining about the number of commercials running in the local market that criticize and make fun of Ronny Earle. It seems to me that the greater risk for having an unfair trial comes from these rather brazen attempts to influence the jury pool.

Posted by: Tim at October 21, 2005 4:11 PM
Comment #87063

If this wasn’t a highly visible and controversial politician on trial the request for a judge to recuse himself and, for a change of venue would go unnoticed.

Both are normal and quite popular requests by defense attorneys used as legal tools to provide the most beneficial environment for their client.

This is not cheating, not a “fix”. It is the most logical course of action to gain whatever advantage or, even the playing field for a defendent.

Posted by: steve smith at October 21, 2005 4:14 PM
Comment #87070

Jim T-
Oh dear. A Democrat… Contributing To Democrats?!?!? My gosh, that’s an explosive enough revelation to take the paint off my house and give my family permanent orange afros!

If the judge injects politics into this to the exception of the law, then he deserves to get overturned. Otherwise, the political activities of this elected official should not be held against him. There is not one law for Democrats, and another for Republicans. This is knee-jerk distrust. A history of contributions is not enough. unless the judge is mixed up in this case somehow, or has a demonstrable history of prejudicial decisions towards Republicans, his politics should not enter into to it, as the voters saw fit to elect him to the position in that jurisdiction.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 4:28 PM
Comment #87071

You guys think this is fun now, wait till they start selecting the jury …

Posted by: steve K at October 21, 2005 4:31 PM
Comment #87073

I know many Republicans on this site are going to defend this attempt at further politicizing our judicial branch, but this is going too far.

Republicans might, Conservitives won’t!


The best you can be guaranteed is a jury of your peers, the civil liberties that belong to everybody, and the due process of law.

In that case, DeLay will get off. His peers are the other slim balls that infest DC now.


I would be ashamed to see one of my own fellow Democrats try this sort of crap.

As well you should be. And the Republicans should be also.


should a Democrat under indictment be given the benefit of a politically friendly judge and venue in a politically charged case?

NO ONE should be allowed tp pick their judge. They do however have the right to challenge the jurors and dismiss ones they don’t like for whatever reasons. But there is a limit to how many times that can do this.


Cannot Democrats judge Republicans, and Republicans judge Democrats?

Yeah, just so long as they keep politics out of it.


Do we want to set the precedent of dividing our legal system along a bright line of political loyalty?

MOST DEFINITELY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 21, 2005 4:35 PM
Comment #87074

Those debating the change of venue, judge recusal issue in the Delay case IMO would be interested in the following link.


http://www.crf-usa.org/bria/bria11_1.html

Posted by: steve smith at October 21, 2005 4:37 PM
Comment #87077

Not only is DeLay running commercials on TV, but he has had automated messages call his constituents on the phone accusing the “partisan” prosecutor of trumping up the charge and that Earle has no case. If these things aren’t influencing the jury pool, I don’t know what it is.

How much different is he than someone bribing a juror? Just a few dollars, that’s all. He should be reprimanded publicly for his actions.

Posted by: TJD at October 21, 2005 4:43 PM
Comment #87079

HereticSpeaks
Look at the 2000 election debacle, the U.S. Supreme Court “Judges” annoingted the Bush to the presidencey, overturning the Election Laws of Florida, and stopping an honest recount of the votes.

Your right they stopped an honest recount, and another, and another, and………………….
Funny thing youall don’t seem to remember, or don’t want to remember, is that Bush kept gaining votes with every recount that cry baby Gore kept crying for.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 21, 2005 4:48 PM
Comment #87080

One of the ways you can transfer venue in Texas is if local prejudice is so extreme—from publicity or otherwise—that you won’t be able to get a fair trial. This argument is waived if not filed with an answer/plea. So, DeGuerin is just being a good lawyer, and I think it’s not an unreaosnable point considering the Prosecutor’s theatrics.

Posted by: Roach at October 21, 2005 4:53 PM
Comment #87081

It seems to me that only FREC judges like Roberts and Miers would be able to be fair in judging despite their personal beliefs.

Posted by: dave at October 21, 2005 5:00 PM
Comment #87087

Stephen Daugherty
A history of contributions is not enough. unless the judge is mixed up in this case somehow, or has a demonstrable history of prejudicial decisions towards Republicans, his politics should not enter into to it, as the voters saw fit to elect him to the position in that jurisdiction.

I don’t know about the judge, but it seems the prosecutor has a history of prejudicial indictments against his political foes.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 21, 2005 5:28 PM
Comment #87091

As far as I can see, it is a concerted effort by the democrats, liberal and the media who wanna to undermine Bush by attacking people around him, because Bush has a real record! Bush has made our country safer. He made many decision that needs guts, which Clinton and alike will never never have. Period. So these “unamerican” aka “democrats and liberal” ends up with these disgusting dirty character assassinations of his people!

How ironic. Around me, it is the same group of liberals who cheered President Bush when he fought back the terrorists yesterday speaks ill of him today . How ungrateful you are!

Posted by: jane at October 21, 2005 5:41 PM
Comment #87101

You guys are laughable.

This entire indictment is a political process, please. The first indictment wasn’t even valid, so he had to get another one. Earl went through a couple of grand juries to get it!

The false outrage about the rule of law is funny coming from folks who don’t care about what law was broken, only that Delay goes down. It’s all political.

How about the fact that Earle has a documentary crew filming this historic event going on for over a year about indicting Tom Delay?

Posted by: esimonson at October 21, 2005 6:20 PM
Comment #87180

Statement/question:

Reading through the change of venue link I came to see that Mr Delay is extremely unpopular in the area which he represents or at least has some influence. How is this man still in his position if he is so unpopular?

The false outrage about the rule of law is funny coming from folks who don’t care about what law was broken, only that Delay goes down. It’s all political.

“The Hammer” got this nickname for a reason. He walks a very fine line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, IMO. I would be equally upset if my Representative, whether Dem or Rep, was a bully and did business in the shade.

BTW, how long does DDT stay in your system?

Posted by: MyPetGoat at October 21, 2005 8:15 PM
Comment #87184

If John Kerry was hauled into court and it came out that the sitting judge was a contributer to Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, would it be improper for his attorneys to request a recusal? Perhaps the request wouldn’t be granted, but there’s nothing improper in making it.

There are plenty of juges available to preside over such a trial, and it’s beneficial to the prosecution as well to have a judge who isn’t tainted by even the appearance of a conflict of interest—that is, if the prosecution is even interested in conducting a fair trial and one whose outcomes aren’t wide open for appeal.

If the judge had made conributions to the Democratic party, that would be one thing, but Moveon.org is an organization of the left-wing fringe.

In all likeliehood (and I’ve no evidence to suggest otherwise) this judge is perfectly able to set aside his own left wing agenda and rule according the law. But the appearance of even a potential conflict of interest should be enough for him to step aside and let any number of the available fellow judges preside over the case.

Posted by: sanger at October 21, 2005 8:32 PM
Comment #87188

Even though I’m a democrat, I don’t have a problem with a defense attorney trying all legal avenues to get some advantage for their client. If I were up on charges, I would want my attorney to do everything they could think of to get me an edge. Even moreso if I were guilty (not pre-judging the case, mind you).
In my mind, this is a coin-flip. I don’t like DeLay. I think he probably has done some pretty unethical things. I also think he’s one of these people who watch that line between legality and illegality pretty closely. He’s probably danced right on the line frequently.
I don’t believe that Earle’s motives are political, since he has prosecuted more democrats than republicans during his time in office. Something like 11 Dems to 4 Repubs, so I hear. So the partisan argument just doesn’t fly.
This entire case is full of politics, so it’s not surprising that politics comes into play during the pre-trial motions. I suspect we’ll see that card played during the entire trial. DeLay’s attorney will be using partisan politics as a major part of his argument.
It’s all equal for everybody. Dems and Repubs alike can ask for a judge to recuse themselves or for a change in venue. The statistics show that they rarely get it.
The prosecutor can argue that the converse will be true if the case is moved to a primarily repub jurisdiction. So the balance will be struck in jury selection.
Keep in mind that asking a judge to recuse themselves is tanatmount to saying that they cannot be trusted to do their job. No judge wants that stigma on themselves or on any other judge. It is harmful to them all. So it’s unlikely that it will happen. It’s also unlikely that a change of venue will be granted, because that problem can be resolved in jury selection.
So even though much is being made of these motions, it’s unlikely (but possible) that something will come of them.
More signigicant, however, is the huge pile of motions that DeGeurin filed. He is using the old trick of burying the prosecutor in paperwork.
Let’s face it: DeGeurin is a great defense attorney. He’ll do everything possible to get his client off. He’s even appealing to the court of public opinion already. (so much for the posters who complain that we should not be forming opinions yet).
It will be an interesting trial. There is a good chance that he will be acquitted. Whether he is guilty or not; like I said, it’s a coin flip.

Posted by: Cole at October 21, 2005 8:50 PM
Comment #87193

Eric-
It’s good you bring the documentary up. You make it sound like he practically commissioned the film itself. The National Review reports differently:

Schermbeck told National Review Online that the film was an irresistible Texas story. “I’ve been pretty interested in watching Tom DeLay work,” Schermbeck says. “I thought he was a fascinating guy, certainly the most powerful Texan to emerge on the national scene in some time, a kind of Republican Sam Rayburn type, with that kind of mastery of the machinery and the will to do it.”

But DeLay did not cooperate with the filmmakers, and neither did a number of DeLay allies. Earle, on the other hand, did.

“I had known about Ronnie Earle for a very long time,” Schermbeck says. “I thought that would be an angle to approach the whole story, telling something about Tom DeLay, even though Tom DeLay wouldn’t grant us an interview.”

Earle “allowed us behind the scenes when the indictments came down last year, the first wave of indictments,” Schermbeck says. “We got to follow him back to his home a couple of times, which I understand he doesn’t allow anybody to do.” Schermbeck says the film includes interviews with some critics of Earle, as well as lawyers who are representing some of the targets of the investigation.[Emphasis mine]

Having not seen the film, I can’t comment on which way it slants, but I think DeLay and his crew cut themselves out of it. Earle? Well, he won’t be the first Camera loving prosecutor. Those do exist- didn’t you know? The only difference here is that the camera’s don’t belong to a news company, but some indy film documentarians who were refused access by the real subject of their film.

Whichever way you see it, having documentarians follow you around may be a sign of ego, but is ego a sign of being wrong? Maybe if you’re a partisan on the other side. Still, it really has little to do with whether or not Earle can convict DeLay. That has entirely to do with Earle’s skills (perhaps not the best), and the evidence (which we haven’t seen the full extent). I’m not without my doubts on this prosecution, but I think the DeLay line that it’s totally fabricated is a load of equine post-digestion residue. As it is, people have been convicted in this case, which indicates that there is enough evidence to show that the law was broken with this deal. The question here is how much of a part did DeLay play in executing the criminal scheme that’s already sent a few of his associates to jail.

Now you can throw all the slanders you want at us. That’s fine. We know our own minds and hearts. There’s a political element here, to be sure, but that element is entangled in what truly may have been criminal actions by Tom DeLay. If indeed it turns out that there is evidence to prove Tom DeLay did criminal acts, then the political concerns are beside the point. The Rule of Law should not be sacrificed because you Republicans find it inconvenient to maintaining power.

Jane-
Bush undermines himself. His record is not a cavalcade of successes. Were that the case, the Katrina disaster response would have been first class effort, not a third class debacle.

Were he showered with successes, we would be on the way out of a peaceful, stable Iraq, and Osama Bin Laden would be rotting in Jail, or beneath the soils of some convenient location. Al-Qaeda would join the list of groups on the ashheap of history which had the bad judgment to mess with us.

Were Bush such a success, then we would see a surplus, not a monster deficit, and his domestic program would be well on its way to full fruition.

Fact is, though, with all the power in his hands, with all the resources in his hands, his only excuse is the one you offer, which we may call “The Scooby Doo Excuse”: If it weren’t for those meddling Democrats! It always has to be somebody else bringing Bush down. As a supporter of Bill Clinton, let me let you in on a little secret: leaders can bring themselves down, through flaws they fail to counteract in their character, and mistakes they fail to recover from.

What’s allowed this is the Republican blindness to the actions of their own. The Republicans have, long after they regained control of the legislature, continued to distract Republicans from their corruption by constantly reviving the spectre of the Democrat’s return to power.

Ironically, you folks have helped us regain respect by not paying better attention to who you’re really putting in office, and how they’re really behaving. In telling yourselves that they couldn’t be as bad as the Democrats, you’ve allowed them to become worse than we ever were, replicating all our follies on a larger scale.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 9:03 PM
Comment #87196

Sanger-
Go up to that helpful link to the motion to recuse, and you’ll find that the judge in question has made multiple donations to the Travis County Democratic Party.

As for Move-On, I don’t recall their commercials being fringe. Maybe to Republicans who find our entire party fringe, Move-On qualifies, but their positions were pretty standard in the party.

I just think you’re asking too much. Any active Democrat would seem to you to be too liberal to set aside his agenda. This is just DeLay and Deguerin trying to intimidate the court into making politics the center of this case, and not DeLay’s actions. Some folks are always going to make out like this was a political lynching. That’s their problem. I swear, you people pick the worse martyrs. DeLay played with fire, ethically, and this time he’s been burned. Next time elect somebody with better principles.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 9:50 PM
Comment #87199
The Republicans have, long after they regained control of the legislature, continued to distract Republicans from their corruption by constantly reviving the spectre of the Democrat’s return to power. Ironically, you folks have helped us regain respect by not paying better attention to who you’re really putting in office, and how they’re really behaving. In telling yourselves that they couldn’t be as bad as the Democrats, you’ve allowed them to become worse than we ever were, replicating all our follies on a larger scale.

I suppose there might be some basis from such an idea if even a fraction of the allegations of Republican corruption were actually established facts instead of Democratic talking points.

James Traficant, Gary Condit, Daniel Rostenkowski, Mario Biaggi, Albert Bustamante, Melvin Reynolds to say nothing of Clinton himself were all recent Democrats in the national level who were not only accused but convicted of crimes.

Have DeLay, Frist, Rove and Libby been convicted of anything? Rove, Frist and Libby haven’t even been accused yet (if they ever will be). It’s laughable to say that on that basis of this record the Republicans are guilty of corrupion on “a larger scale” than the mile-long list of Democrats who were actually tried, convicted and sentenced.

Posted by: sanger at October 21, 2005 10:15 PM
Comment #87201

Yes indeed Truth to a Liberal is like garlic to a vampire. Democratic Party is the party of No. No solutions No princaples No character.

Posted by: Thomas at October 21, 2005 10:29 PM
Comment #87203

Stephen, politics is already very much at the center of this case. It wasn’t decisions on the part of DeLay’s attorneys that caused Ronnie Earle to appear at a Democratic fundraiser and promise to get DeLay—a political dimension to this case that can’t be so easily dismissed.

Add that to Earle’s last minute grand-jury shuffling and quickly revised charges when he realized he was indicting on the basis of laws which didn’t even exist, and you’ve got a case that absolutely stinks of politics.

If this judge were presiding over a case involving DeLay and the charges had to do with non-political issues (anything from parking tickets to murder) then it would be a totally different matter.

Judges are allowed to have their own beliefs, and no one suggests that they should have no political affiliations of their own. Moveon.org, however, is widely seen (whether you see it that way or not) as representing the far left wing of the Democratic party. Even more important than that, they actively campaigned against the very Texas redistricting effort that the DeLay case is centered on.

Even if a judge really is able to set aside his own agenda on any issue, the APPEARANCE of a strong conflict of interest matters because both parties as well as the public should have no doubts about the judge’s impartiality. If DeLay were found guilty, the public will always doubt the verdict not only because of this prosecuter but this judge.

Anybody who wants to see DeLay convicted and believes he’s guilty should agree on this and want the trial to go forward without such a huge taint on the whole process.

There’s nothing indespensable about this particular judge, and there’s no admission of his unsuitabilty or inabilty to remain impartial if he lets somebody else with a less questionable record do the job.

Justice must not only BE impartial, but SEEM impartial to avoid public cynicism doubt about the whole process.

Posted by: sanger at October 21, 2005 10:38 PM
Comment #87210

Sanger-
I don’t think Clinton or Condit were charged with anything, though I might be wrong. It doesn’t pain me to concede that the others were convicted of felonies. This is the past for the Democratic party, and hopefully it stays this way. No guarantees though, which is why people like you and me need to keep on our toes.

We’ll see on the corruption charges. I was speaking more in terms of the soft, subtle, legal corruption of porkbarrel spending, deficits, and cronyism. I think plenty of evidence exists for that. What happens in terms of criminal investigations is up in the air, but I don’t think it will end up being good for your people in the long run.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 11:21 PM
Comment #87214

The case stinks of politics, but it all comes down to whether Earle has a case. If he doesn’t it’s a flameout.

I don’t any prosecution of DeLay could be handled by Democrats and Liberals in a way that would please your side. The evidence was enough to convict associates of DeLay, so while there may be a political angle to this, it doesn’t prevent there from being a factual angle as well.

The judge in question here says he supported Move-On to the extent that it was supporting Kerry. That was true of a lot of Democrats. Your people treat it as fringe because it was so vocal about Bush from the beginning. It’s political points were mainstream for our party.

This judge is no more a raving leftist than Fitzgerald is. Not everybody will believe him impartial. But that doesn’t matter as long as he interprets the law effectively as a judge and give DeLay his due process.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2005 11:31 PM
Comment #87217

Stephen, the evidence here was enough to convict associates of DeLay’s? What associates are you talking about?

Jim Ellis and John Colyandro were indicted only a couple weeks before DeLay was, and their cases haven’t even gone to trial—much less ended in convictions.

Posted by: sanger at October 21, 2005 11:42 PM
Comment #87271

Jack,

“But…if you were accused of a felony…wouldn’t you request another judge that’s more sympathetic to your situation? Wouldn’t you seek the most favorable persons to aid your case? Wouldn’t you want the most sympathetic jury you could get?”

What about those of us who don’t do things that could get us seriously accused of a felony?

I don’t know what I’d do, and I intend to never have to find out.

DeLay can manipulate the court, or he can try, but I doubt that he’ll be able to manipulate it enough to get off if he’s guilty.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 22, 2005 2:55 AM
Comment #87272

Sorry, I guess that was directed to Jim T.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 22, 2005 3:02 AM
Comment #87286

Sanger-
You’re probably right on the count of no convictions. I apologize.

I was probably thinking about the fact that Three of DeLay’s aids were indicted more than a year ago. Additionally, in my research, I found that a judge has already ruled that certain TRMPAC activitiesviolated the law. This judge was a Democrat, but he was appointed by a Republican.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2005 10:14 AM
Comment #87287

Additionally, the two who were indicted with DeLay this time were among those indicted last go round.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2005 10:16 AM
Comment #87300

Thank you for posting the motion showing the contributions made by the judge. I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me Who /what THE PROBLEM IS.

As far as I know most judges not only vote, but many are actually elected. One would anticipate that they also make contributions to their elected party.

I can’t help but wonder whether based on DeLay’s attorney’s assertions that all these “elected Judges” are politically motivated when they make a judicial decision. After-all, a murder charge IS a pretty big deal.

Just a passing thought.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 22, 2005 12:00 PM
Comment #87301

I appreciate the posting of the judge’s contributions. He obviously REALLY feels the need to contribute heavily to the Democratic Party. (Joke)

I would greatly appreciate it if someone would tell me what the problem is?

In my state, many of the judges are elected.(WOW - strange concept)

I would be an idiot not to assume/expect that many Judges not only vote, but also contribute funds to the party that helped get them elected.

I wonder how these contributions effect their decisions in truly horrible cases… say a murder trail. Humm…I can see it now, “I sentence you to death because you are a Republican, and you, sir get life because you are a Democrat.”

Just a passing thought.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 22, 2005 12:13 PM
Comment #87302

Sorry about the almost double post… I was fighting with my cat.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 22, 2005 12:14 PM
Comment #87307

Linda, contributions to a political party are one thing, and if it was just a long record of contributing to Democrats, there’d be no problem.

But this judge has repeatedly contributed to groups like the Texas Partnership PAC and the far left Moveon.org who were actively campaigning against DeLay on the VERY ISSUE which is before the court.

This is exactly like John Kerry appearing in court on an issue related to his military record… and then finding out that the judge is a contributer to the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. The potential inability to be impartial is so glaring that the judge should obviously let another judge step in—something that is really not that big of a deal and happens every day.

Posted by: sanger at October 22, 2005 12:55 PM
Comment #87315

Sanger-
First, That PAC basically had the purpose of electing Democrats to public office in Texas. Additionally, Judge Perkins made his last contribution (100 bucks)to the Texas Leadership PAC in 2002, before the controversial 2003 redistricting was done. If Perkin’s really was that much of a fanatic about defeating DeLay, he would have done so again in 2004. That did not happen.

This is the true criminalizing of politics. The judge does not have to be neutral to his own party to be neutral to a defendant. That said, I don’t think DeLay is making friends in the courtroom with this argument. If he had contributed money to DeLay’s opponent directly, then we’d have a situation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2005 3:44 PM
Comment #87317

By this logic, if a president is ever impeached only members of his/her own party may sit in judgement. Sounds kind of biased to a certain outcome but maybee that is the point.

Posted by: vague at October 22, 2005 3:53 PM
Comment #87329

While I don’t care who the judge contributed to during the campaign. I have to wonder if a Democrat politician was indicted and it came out that the judge contributed to the Republican campaign if it would matter to them.
YOU CAN BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY IT WOULD! They’d be screaming for the judge to be removed.
But let DeLay ask for a change of venue and he’s trying to throw the trial in his favor.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 22, 2005 7:28 PM
Comment #87333

Ron Brown,

Just because some or even most Democrats would do it, and probably have done it, doesn’t mean it’s right and doesn’t mean it’s fair.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 22, 2005 9:21 PM
Comment #87344

Sanger

You said “If John Kerry was hauled into court and it came out that the sitting judge was a contributer to Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, would it be improper for his attorneys to request a recusal?

This has NOTHING to do with this case. John Kerry ISN’T accused of breaking the law. Tom DeLay IS. Nice try at distraction, though.

You also talked about the judge’s “left wing agenda”. Please show us evidence that this judge HAS a “left wing agenda”. Without any facts to back up your accusation, this is just more right wing noise.

Posted by: ElliottBay at October 23, 2005 12:02 AM
Comment #87346

Ron Brown,

You and Sanger must be listening to the same right wing hatemonger talk shows because you’re both using the same straw man argument. You said “if a Democrat politician was indicted and it came out that the judge contributed to the Republican campaign if it would matter to them.

No Democrat has been indicted here. The latest person indicted is Tom DeLay, arguably the most powerful Republican in the House.

This case is NOT about politics as usual. It’s about politicians WHO ARE ACCUSED OF BREAKING THE LAW. During the Clinton years, Republicans were constantly telling eveyone who’d listen that this is a nation of laws, and lawbreakers must be punished. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot and the Republicans are trying to squirm out from under the law. Do you seriously think that Nixon & company should have gotten off scott free, because they were just practicing “politics as usual”?

Posted by: ElliottBay at October 23, 2005 12:24 AM
Comment #87462

“In the PR world, there is often a lot more smoke than fire.”

Jack, maybe this is true if we’re talking about Nick and Jessica divorce rumors, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that in the dirty world of politics there is often A LOT more fire than smoke. The public is rarely privy to all the slimy backdoor dealings that go on, and even when stories like these break, they are rarely pursued strongly by the MSM.

Think about it, where was all the smoke during the Valerie Plame case back in 2003? I’m pretty sure the press gave the White House a free pass on a scandal that appears to be much much bigger than originally thought.

Posted by: Andrew L. at October 23, 2005 12:23 PM
Comment #87467

ElliottBay,

I hate to be one propping up that straw man, but the point is indicative of the general corruption within the rank and file politicians, irregardless of which of the two major (and probably at least some of the minor) political parties they adhere to.

However, this doesn’t excuse DeLay’s trying to circumvent justice. Far from it. But, Dems shouldn’t use this and probably have over the years.

My question for those defending DeLay…

How many average citizens have the opportunity to use this tactic? There HAS to be a valid reason to ask for a change of venue or a different judge, and political party affiliation just isn’t enough, UNLESS you can actually prove that the judge is personally biased against the individual (not the party) and thus cannot judge fairly.

I think politicians in general are a scuzzy lot (yes, even those I vote for and support), but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to fairly determine a politician’s innocence or guilt based on the evidence that’s available, should I ever have the need/opportunity to do so. I may have a distaste for a man that is probably guilty, but is determined innocence on the basis of a technicality, but that is the way our laws are set up and they are set up that way so that innocent men (and women) are not wrongfully imprisoned or even killed. Whether we like it or not, are laws are set up to sacrifice the “guilt” of some people to save the innocence of others.

As much as I like the song “Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses” I don’t actually want to return to the over-simplistic days of vigilante justice. I don’t want to see a picture of DeLay hanging from a tree branch on the front cover of the Washington Post, nor do I want to see DeLay walking free because he has so much political clout he can do whatever he damned well pleases. Our laws, our government is SUPPOSED to stand for something greater and better than that. Idealistic and naive, perhaps, but that’s something a lot better to strive for then guilt before trial or innocence at all costs.

If DeLay’s lawyer can actually prove that the judge is prejudice against DeLay, then DeLay should get a different judge. If he cannot (and currently he has not), then he should accept the judge he has and the judge should give him an unbias trial that truly strives to prove him guilty with the evidence at the lawyers’ disposal and not through any other means.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 23, 2005 1:30 PM
Comment #87489

ElliottBay
You and Sanger must be listening to the same right wing hatemonger talk shows because you’re both using the same straw man argument. You said “if a Democrat politician was indicted and it came out that the judge contributed to the Republican campaign if it would matter to them.”

I don’t listen to talk shows. If I wanted to listen to a lot of hot air I’d turn c-span on and listen to congress.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 23, 2005 3:14 PM
Comment #87490

of course Delay wants to stack the deck on his pending inquiry. WHO WOULDN’T!!! He knows if he has a repugnant Republican judge he has another member on his team…..they wouldn’t fairly judge the case because they might piss off the GOP powers that be. They tend NOT to shake the boat and will willingly go along with the party line.
Now they know they would and could get a fair trial with a liberal because, for the most part, liberals are all for fairness and justice for all and not turning a blind eye to infractions made by the rich and powerful.
Smear the judge and the prosecutor even though RE has indicted far more of the Democrats than repugnants……and the judge for giving cash to MO.org during the LAST PRESIDENTIAL campaign. Must we have to check the donations of all the judges and weed out those who never made a political contrabution???????????

Posted by: qitqat at October 23, 2005 3:21 PM
Comment #87496

The situation boils down to this:

I do not begrudge Delay for requesting another judge. In matters of law, any defendant has an interest in attempting to get the mot sympathetic judge and jury.

That being said, the request is still ridiculous. Every judge has his/her own political beliefs that must take a backseat to the rule of law. Simply contributing to a Democratic candidate and a Democratic PAC during an election cycle is hardly sufficient grounds to demonstrate a conflict of interest.

Posted by: Andrew L. at October 23, 2005 3:35 PM
Comment #87524

Who cares if DeLay’s lawyers request changes of venue and judge. Put all that on the news. Let’s get nightly talking heads debating these issues. Let’s make the public aware of what is going on. Let’s hear DeLay cry and whine. Let’s here Democrats defend the prosecution. Just let’s put this in the public eye and keep it there.

It is too, too rich to hear Republican’s try to defend DeLay, Cheney, Rove, et.al. The Republicans came to power under the demonization of Clinton and took it to the absurd politically tainted House and Senate investigations ad nauseum until the final unethical prosecution of what amounts to the daily occurrences of lying and denying in civil divorce cases. Together with the completely broken and forgotten “Contract with America” which clearly demonstrates the complete hypocrisy of Republican talking points (many Democrats are, as well, though they don’t lie and steal half as well the current bunch in office).

Take your medicine. The Republicans (Rove, Cheney, and DeLay, especially) have used the media and continued lies and half-truths to personally destroy the political opposition instead of relying on debate over the political issues. Now that their favorite tools of destruction are being used on them, I can only laugh… and I hope they all are sent to prison.. we certainly need a wake up call in our government and public discourse.

Hopefully, Republicans and Democrats alike will come to their senses and end these personal attacks, underhanded ploys to redistrict, suppress votes, etc. and will learn to rely on HONEST DISCOURSE and PERSONAL INTEGRITY. Frankly, I don’t see much from either side.

Posted by: Rick at October 23, 2005 7:40 PM
Comment #87535

How about moving Delay’s trial to Mass.? ;)

Delay shouldn’t get so worked up, Bush still can pardon him.

Posted by: Taylor at October 23, 2005 9:35 PM
Comment #87562

Taylor,

If Bush has to pardon him, his career as a politician is (at least, should be) over. Though, he’ll probably just find a lucrative position as a briber, I mean lobbyist.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 23, 2005 11:19 PM
Comment #87601

True Stephanie. Delay is facing some prison time, it’s Rove who might get the death penalty for treason. Is there a limit on how many people Bush can pardon? I don’t think so.

Posted by: Taylor at October 24, 2005 4:49 AM
Comment #87614

So Delay doesn’t like a Judge that gave money to Moveon.org; I guess he would like a Judge that took corporate money for his TRUMPAC slush fund? Delay is the usual angery Neo-Con.
Just more of the same.

Posted by: Santee555 at October 24, 2005 8:53 AM
Comment #87680

DeLay’s lawyer gave more money to the Dems than the judge did, by the way…

Posted by: mattLaw at October 24, 2005 3:12 PM
Comment #87690

People here are making a bigger deal about a routine request from the defense than Judge Perkins is himself.

Perkins did the right and honorable thing in turning over the decision on recusal to another judge, and all parties will be abide by that decision.

It’s totally common for a judge to be recused in cases where he may have a strong personal interest, potlical or otherwise—and Judge Perkins previously recused himself in Earle’s failed prosecution of Hutchinson

Nobody’s said that the presiding judge mustn’t be a Democrat, but it’s totally legitimate to look at how deep his feelings and involvement is about the relevant ISSUES, questions raised not by donations to Democrats but to other political groups that have campaigned for those issues.

Perkins recognizes as much himself, which is why he left the final decision to someone else.

Posted by: sanger at October 24, 2005 4:00 PM
Comment #87692

I agree, Sanger … it really isn’t a big deal.

I do find it humorous, however, that his lawyer actually gave more money to the Dems than the judge did.

Posted by: mattLaw at October 24, 2005 4:04 PM
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