The ongoing DeLay appeals process keeps on going as the Court of Criminal Appeals has given Travis County DA Ronnie Earle one week to respond to the motion to dismiss the indictments.
The state's highest criminal court has given Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle one week to respond to DeLay's request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed. By asking prosecutors to quickly submit briefs on that question, the Court of Criminal Appeals has kept alive DeLay's hopes of resolving the case before the end of January so he can return to the post of House majority leader.
The court, however, has only called for briefs and has not decided whether to hear the case.
"The fact that they didn't simply reject it is an extremely good sign for us," said Dick DeGuerin, a lawyer for DeLay, R-Sugar Land. "And secondly, that they've only given the state one week is also a good sign."
Earle filed a motion with the Court of Criminal Appeals this week accusing DeLay of seeking special treatment by taking his case to the nine-member high court, which generally represents the last level of appeal in criminal cases.
"While the breadth of this court's jurisdiction to entertain petitions . . . is well known, the court has previously expressed reluctance to extend this privilege unless the circumstances are truly extraordinary," his motion says. "Holding a political office does not make a defendant 'extraordinary.' "
George Dix, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said the Court of Criminal Appeals is asking Earle to weigh in on the question of whether it should hear DeLay's effort to have the charges dismissed.
"A rough analogy is when you want to get in someone's house," Dix said. "It's possible that the occupants could not respond. This is like answering the door, but you still have to talk your way in."