Texas Gov. Rick Perry's indictment is a stunt?

Posted on 2014-08-16
Last Modified: 2015-01-08

Does indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry indicate persecution by a grand jury or potential guilt?

Question by:SunBow
    LVL 24

    Author Comment

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry indicted for alleged abuse of power in veto dispute August 16, 2014
    Perry was indicted by an Austin grand jury on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.
    The indictment is the first of its kind since 1917, when James "Pa" Ferguson was indicted on charges stemming from his veto of state funding to the University of Texas in an effort to unseat faculty and staff members he objected to.

    Indictment against Texas Gov. Rick Perry
    LVL 24

    Author Comment

    Gov. Cuomo's anti-corruption panel is under fire while he defends it as 'phenomenal success' July 28, 2014
    In launching the 25-member panel last July, Cuomo hoped the threat of exposing wrongdoing in the scandal-scarred Legislature would be enough to scare lawmakers into reforming ethics laws.

    Instead, he is now accused of corrupting his own anti-corruption commission, by steering it away from some potential targets of investigation and then disbanding it in return for lawmakers agreeing to new ethics laws.

    Tom DeLay calls Texas Gov. Rick Perry's indictment a ‘conspiracy - By Joseph Weber - August 19, 2014 [extracts]

    Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Monday sharply criticized the Texas county prosecutor's office that indicted him and more recently fellow Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, calling the case against the governor a “vendetta” and another example of the “criminalization of politics.”

     DeLay attacked nearly every aspect of the prosecution’s case against Perry -- suggesting it was political retribution for the governor's attempt to remove a county district attorney with a criminal record and a “conspiracy” likely traceable to Washington Democrats.

    “There is no doubt [the case] is politically motivated,” he said. “Once again, the district attorney of Travis County presented a case, not unlike mine, that was very weak, if it was a case at all. … It’s a conspiracy to use the legal system to politicize politics.”

    DeLay was indicted in 2005 by a Travis County grand jury for allegedly conspiring to break election laws several years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.

    He was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison. But he was allowed free on bail while appealing his conviction. The Texas Court of Appeals ruled in Sept. 2013 that the evidence in the case was “legally insufficient” to sustain the convictions and DeLay was formally acquitted.

    Opinion: Grand Jury Indictment Of Texas Governor Rick Perry Exposes Corruption - By Raoul Lowery Contreras - August 18, 2014
    Here we are again. A Travis County Grand Jury has indicted another Hispanic friendly Republican – Governor Rick Perry

    Grand jurors offended by Perry suggestion indictment was political - By Brian M. Rosenthal and Patrick Svitek - August 19, 2014 | Updated: August 20, 201
    AUSTIN - Several members of the grand jury that indicted Gov. Rick Perry denied their deliberations were tainted by politics Tuesday and said they were offended by the governor, his lawyers and his supporters casting their decision as based on anything other than the law.

    "We were asked to serve, we attended eight sessions over the course of five months, we listened to hours of evidence and we formed opinions, and those opinions were not motivated by politics," juror Scott Hillman said. "They were simply motivated by our understanding of the facts as applied to the law."

    Hillman called the governor's comments in the days since last Friday's indictment "disrespectful."

    "I see him laugh at these charges, and I think he's laughing at the process, and he's laughing at the grand jurors," Hillman said. "We took our role very, very seriously."

    The grand jurors were selected last April by San Antonio-based State District Judge Bert Richardson, ..., currently running in the November general election as a Republican...

    The special prosecutor appointed to the case, San Antonio-based Michael McCrum, was nominated by former President George W. Bush to be an assistant U.S. attorney

    Rick Perry Remained Silent When Three Republicans Were Arrested For DUI - By Darrell Lucus on August 21, 2014
    It seems that on at least two occasions in Perry’s 13-plus years as governor, Republican district attorneys were convicted for driving drunk–the very thing for which Perry is trying to oust Lehmberg. And yet, unlike with Lehmberg, Perry didn’t fall over himself to have these Republican prosecutors removed from office. Later on, a former Republican lawmaker was arrested for DUI–and actually got promoted even though he’d refused to take field sobriety tests or blood tests.

    2002, Terry McEachern, the DA for Swisher County in the Panhandle, was arrested by police in New Mexico after one of his relatives reported him swerving into oncoming traffic and running off the road. He was convicted of aggravated DWI

    2009, Rick Harrison, the DA for Kaufman County in the Metroplex (west of Dallas), was arrested for hitting a car in Seagoville after driving the wrong way down a street. It was actually his second DUI conviction, a fact which prompted local Republicans to demand his resignation. But Harrison refused to step down–and Perry made no move to push him out

    What’s the difference? Well, neither McEachern nor Harrison was leading a corruption investigation that was getting very close to Perry. At the time of her arrest and conviction for DUI last year, Lehmberg was investigating possible illicit distribution of grant money from Perry’s signature project, the Texas Cancer Research and Prevention Institute, in her capacity as head of the state’s Public Integrity Unit. And as mentioned above, both McEachern and Harrison are Republicans. Lehmberg is a Democrat.

    2012 Jack Stick, a deputy inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was arrested for DUI in Austin.

    Travis DA’s drunken-driving arrest riled Perry; others’ didn’t - By CHRISTY HOPPE published: 19 August 2014 - Updated: 20 August 2014

    Rick Perry puts mug shot on T-shirts: what that says about 2016 - By Peter Grier, Staff writer  AUGUST 25, 2014
    “Get yours for $25 today!” boasts RickPAC on its contribution page Monday morning.

    The front of this choice piece of Perry-wear features the mug shot itself, showing the governor, sans his fancy new glasses, smiling ever-so-slightly into the camera. “WANTED” is stamped over Perry’s face, and below is the tag line, “FOR SECURING THE BORDER AND DEFEATING DEMOCRATS."
    LVL 26

    Assisted Solution

    Thanks for references to the three prior similar DUI cases that brought radically different actions from Gov. Perry. Those are hard to reconcile with his latest action; and without them, this latest situation could easily be dismissed as a 'stunt'.

    Also, when those earlier three are taken into account, it opens the possibility that DeLay's recent related actions might border on 'conspiracy' to affect the outcome of the current case.

    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    What is he guilty of?  Conspiracy to veto.  Please, direct me to that statute.

    Count I: Threatening to vote is simple political speech, protected by the First Amendment.

    Count II: The Texas Constitution gives the governor absolute power (without giving a reason) to veto any appropriations regardless of what the legislature or any one else may want to happen.

    To me, this seem like just as malicious a prosecution as any frivolous lawsuit I have ever heard of before.  I hope if found innocent Rick Perry turns the tables on these idiot lawyers and sues them for civil damages caused by their educated stupidity.

    Turn about's fair play, and all that.
    LVL 26

    Accepted Solution

    What is he guilty of?  Conspiracy to veto.

    Since the case still hasn't gone to trial, we don't know if he's guilty of anything.

    What we do know is that a (Republican, originally appointed by Governor George W. Bush) special prosecutor presented a case to a grand jury in front of a (Republican*) judge, and the grand jury returned an indictment. For the most part, it's been Republican officials who've been pushing the official case, so it doesn't seem to be simply politically motivated.

    What we do know is that the indictment isn't over "Conspiracy to veto". Thinking that just indicates lack of understanding of the case. The complaint lists alleged violations of "...Texas Penal Code § 36.03 COERCION OF A PUBLC SERVANT OR VOTER, Penal Code § 36.02 BRIBERY, Penal Code § 39.02 ABUSE OF OFFICIAL CAPACITY, and Penal Code § 39.03 OFFICIAL OPPRESSION...". And since an indictment was returned, we can only assume that sufficient evidence was shown for the grand jury to think that a trial could result in conviction. (And not for "Conspiracy to veto".)

    Until a trial happens, we won't know.

    The evidence isn't available to the public yet. Some things are known. There are surrounding circumstances that are interesting that might be involved. For example, the Public Integrity Unit, the unit the Governor tried to shut down, is investigating a scandal involving the $3 billion Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, a fund "...close to the governor’s office that suffered from cronyism and lax oversight."

    Who knows where and how far it will go? Latest is that a (Republican) judge rejected defense motions to drop the charges on various procedural/technicality grounds. It seems that charges are serious enough to go to the next steps which will probably be a motion to drop based on Constitutional grounds. I don't think that one looks too likely to succeed.

    (* Republican initially. She changed to Democrat in a later election and ran against a Republican opponent in the predominantly Democratic County. That practically gave Republicans two candidates for the position.)

    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    >> Does Indictment Of Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicate Persecution By A Grand Jury Or Potential Guilt?

    Are we talking about a persecution or prosecution?  I am confused.  Are they trying to determine if he is an alleged christian or an alleged criminal or both?
    LVL 24

    Author Comment

    The main two parts of this that get to my goat/goad is the attempt to rid one's self of those who are charged with legally overseeing their activities, and the flaming of citizens who rightfully attempt to participate in improving their community (grand jurists)  for betterment of all.

    When the story of drunken behavior first broke, my knee jerk reaction was that the government would fare better without this format of news - in favor of  'good riddance' without delay. We could then drink to that.

    > persecution or prosecution?

    Yes. Grand juries do not prosecute.  Their task is to assess whether there could be viable evidence or the presentation (of a prosecutor) is more frivolous.

    > Thanks for references to the three prior similar DUI cases that brought radically different actions

    This hits us home on own work behavior, where there can be presumption of status quo vs selective enforcement. Suppose half of your coworkers continually violate some rule, such as being late to work, late to return from lunch, while you are always on time even early, and often work through lunch. Then some event happens, boss gives you a dirty look, you have some 'problem' and are found to be late, against 'policy', and lose job due to boss citing testimony on your breaking that rule. Maybe you want to scream 'discrimination'.

    Similar cases found for sexual harassment and whistleblowing. Along those lines the way that rape is handled, or not.

    >  I am confused.
    = goal of accused
    LVL 24

    Author Comment

    Will try to close, with but two experts contributing, one more heavily, and in sum I presume opposing opinions.

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