Oh, For Chrissakes
Earle doesn't want regional judge to pick court
District attorney files motion to keep Schraub from selecting judge for DeLay case
By Laylan Copelin
Thursday, November 03, 2005
In an unprecedented move, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle filed a motion Thursday asking a Republican presiding judge to remove himself from the decision about who will be the trial judge in the conspiracy case against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.
Earle, a Democrat, argued that Judge B.B. Schraub, the presiding judge for the 3rd Administrative Judicial Region, should step aside for the same reasons that state District Judge Bob Perkins, a Democrat, was removed from hearing DeLay's case: Both had given political donations.
In the retaliatory motion, Earle wrote that he was using the same rationale that DeLay's lawyers used to get Perkins removed from the case. He said Schraub of Seguin, like Perkins of Austin, is a fair and impartial judge with a "sterling reputation" of honesty and integrity.
But Earle wrote that's "unfortunately no longer the standard in our state for the judiciary." He argued that Schraub could be personally biased for DeLay and against Earle.
DeLay's lawyers successfully had Perkins removed from the case Tuesday after arguing that Perkins' donations to Democratic causes and candidates, as well as the internet-based organization MoveOn.org, gave the appearance that the Democratic judge might be biased against the former U.S. House majority leader.
Schraub appointed a retired Democratic judge, C.W. "Bud" Duncan of Bell County, who ordered Perkins to step aside after a four-hour hearing Tuesday. That left Schraub to find a replacement. He told the Associated Press he was looking at retired judges outside Travis County.
The issue of whether a judge outside or inside Travis County hears the case could have a bearing on an array of pre-trial issues, particularly whether DeLay could get a fair trial in the heavily Democratic county that he had split between three congressional districts in 2003 to try and defeat U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.
Schraub declined to comment on the motion. DeLay's lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
According to Earle's motion, Schraub has given $5,600 — roughly the same amount as Perkins — to Republican candidates, including President Bush, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Gov. Rick Perry, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth and state Rep. Ed Kuempel.
Earle wrote that the $1,500 to Perry was particularly troubling because Perry was a central player in DeLay's successful attempt in 2003 to have Texas congressional districts drawn to his liking. As governor, Perry called the special legislative sessions where the districts were redrawn to shift the balance of power in the congressional delegation from Democrats to Republicans.
The prosecutor also noted that Perry appointed Schraub as presiding judge and Schraub is up for re-appointment in January.
Earle suggested four options for breaking the partisan logjam over naming a judge to hear the DeLay case.
He asked Schraub to assign the case to another Travis County district judge; appoint a Travis County presiding judge to assign the case in the normal court rotation; to step aside voluntarily; or ask the governor to appoint the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to hear Earle's motion to force Schraub to be removed..."
These imbeciles should put six Democrat and six GOP judges' names in a hat, then hire a retarded child to pick one. Then they should just go with the one the kid picks.
Texas justice is ridiculous. Just pick a fuckin' judge and let's get on with it.