July 16, 2007
Earle asks CCA to reconsider

Back in June, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the lower courts' dismissal of the conspiracy to violate the election code indictment, Travis County DA Ronnie Earle said he would ask the court to reconsider its ruling. He made that request official on Friday.

Earle said the court is creating a schism between blue collar and white collar crimes.

"The effect of this decision is to create a separate class of felonies that are indeed 'puny, half-pint' felonies, somewhat different, perhaps less serious and less worthy of diligent enforcement, than the felonies defined in the penal code," Earle said. "Do these other felonies inherently possess a lesser status ... such that a separate -- but not necessarily equal -- system of justice must be created for them?"

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, said Earle's argument was "outrageous."

DeGuerin said violations of the election code are regulatory and are crimes only because the law says they are.

"They are not inherently evil in themselves such as crimes against another person or theft or robbery or fraud," DeGuerin said. "It really is an effort to draw attention away from the fact they got it so wrong that they were embarrassed."

Two charges -- money laundering and conspiring to launder money -- remain against the former Republican congressman and the two consultants. Lawyers are arguing about those charges in an appeals court, and no trial date has been set.

Earle's full statement is here. As I said before, I don't really know what this means in practical terms. It feels to me a little like Phil Garner asking Bruce Froemming to reconsider whether he really meant to call Craig Biggio out. Maybe I'm wrong about that - if you know better than me, please fill me in. Who knows, it was a 5-4 decision, maybe one of the CCA judges has come down with a case of buyer's remorse since then. We'll see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2007 to Scandalized!

So wait, Tom DeLay's lawyer is arguing that victimless crimes are "crimes only because the law says they are" and therefore sort of a joke?

Like, for instance, possession of drugs?

Posted by: Michael Croft on July 16, 2007 7:14 AM