Thursday, November 03, 2005

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
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

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.

4 comments:

Karen Zipdrive said...

It gets Worse:

Judicial selection spinning in DeLay case

Appearance of conflicts follows judges up the political ladder.
By Laylan Copelin
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The judicial carousel in U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's conspiracy case almost spun out of control Thursday as the search for a judge beyond the hint of any political taint reached the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.

But even he has deep partisan ties.

Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, asked to name a trial judge for the DeLay case, shared the same campaign treasurer and consultant as DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority. One of his largest campaign donations — $25,000 — was from the arm of the Republican National Committee that's at the center of the allegation that DeLay and his co-defendants laundered corporate money into political donations in 2002.

The carousel began spinning Tuesday when DeLay's lawyers successfully got State District Judge Bob Perkins, D-Austin, taken off the case because of political donations he had made to Democratic candidates and causes, including the Internet-based organization MoveOn.org.

Taking a page from that playbook, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, on Thursday filed a motion that forced presiding Judge B.B. Schraub, who was supposed to name Perkins' replacement, to withdraw because of his political donations to Republicans.

Schraub asked Jefferson to name a trial judge for the former U.S. House majority leader.

That's when Texans for Public Justice, a group tracking campaign donations, disclosed that public campaign records show Jefferson has paid Austin consultant Susan Lilly $115,779 since 2001. He also had Bill Ceverha, the treasurer for DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority, as his campaign treasurer. A judge already has ruled in a separate civil lawsuit that Ceverha broke the law by not reporting the corporate donations that DeLay's committee spent during the 2002 elections.

"Where does it stop?" said DeLay's lawyer Dick DeGuerin when told the news.

Yet he insisted Jefferson could appoint a fair judge despite the apparent conflicts — and, by law, he is the last one who can.

"This is just an administrative task, not a judicial one," DeGuerin said. "Like it not, Ronnie (Earle) is stuck with it."

That remained unclear Thursday afternoon.

Jefferson's office has not responded for comment. And Earle has not commented since filing his motion to remove Schraub.

In an unprecedented move, Earle argued that Schraub should step aside because of campaign donations he made to Republican candidates, including Gov. Rick Perry, who was a central player in DeLay's 2003 attempt to redraw Texas congressional districts. Within three hours, Schraub stepped aside, asking Jefferson, a Republican, to name a trial judge for the DeLay case. Perry appointed Jefferson to the court in 2001, and he was promoted to chief justice last year.

The escalating war over which judge should preside over the state's biggest political investigation of this generation could have a bearing on an array of pre-trial issues, particularly whether DeLay could get a fair trial in heavily Democratic Travis County, which DeLay lobbied to have split into three congressional districts in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.

DeLay, along with two co-defendants, is accused of conspiring to violate a law barring corporate money being spent on campaigns and laundering $190,000 of corporate money into political donations to Texas candidates during the 2002 elections. Specifically, the indictment accuses DeLay and co-defendants John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, D.C., of exchanging $190,000 of corporate money for the same amount in noncorporate money from an arm of the Republican National Committee.

The defendants have denied wrongdoing. Their lawyers have argued that the corporate money ban is vague, that the law doesn't prohibit sending corporate money out of Texas and that the RNC donations were legally raised in other states. They also claim Earle's investigation is a political vendetta for DeLay's role in congressional redistricting.

In Thursday's motion, Earle argued that Schraub should step aside for the same reasons that Perkins was removed from the case.

Saying he was using the same rationale employed by DeLay's lawyers, he wrote that Schraub, like Perkins, 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 because of his political donations.

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 that Schraub is up for re-appointment in January.

"It was a stupid motion," DeGuerin said. "This is an admission by Ronnie Earle that this is a political case. It's almost like he said, 'OK, you got me.' "

As is the practice in Travis County, Perkins was assigned the case randomly. But in a county where only one criminal district judge is a Republican, the odds were high that a Democratic judge would be assigned.

In court Tuesday, Earle argued that taking the unprecedented step of reassigning judges because of political donations in a state where judges are elected as partisans would be as divisive as "Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds."

On Thursday, DeGuerin said, "Relax, Chicken Little. The sky is not falling."

Karen Zipdrive said...

BREAKING NEWS
Thursday, November 3, 2005

"Retired Bexar County Judge appointed in DeLay case...
Pat Priest, a Democrat, to take over politically sensitive case."

Great news! Pat Priest is a good, experienced judge from Bexar (pronounced bear) County, the county I live in.
DeLay should get just the kind of fair treatment he deserves.
:D

dusty said...

when you say he will get what he deserves..you mean he will take it in the ass right? metaphorically speaking of course..

Karen Zipdrive said...

Like all Americans, DeLay deserves a fair trial.
However, with his myriad ethics violations and warnings from his GOP colleagues to clean up his act-- if he waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck...
His buddies in the TRMPAC scandal have already been indicted and at least one of them will likely squeal like a pig about DeLay to get a better deal.
Even murderer O.J. Simpson deserved a fair trial- but once he was acquitted in the criminal trial, we all still knew he did it.
The majority of Americans think DeLay is guilty. If justice is served and he happens to get raped in jail, I sure hope he doesn't call me to send him any soothing ointment.
That's all I'm sayin.'