Wednesday, October 12, 2005

DeLay Desperation

I'm still scratching my head about this move of DeLay's to try to subpoena Earle and members of the grand jury. Is it all just for the media coverage? It certainly doesn't look like a good legal move, or even a sound one.

Here's more from today's Houston Chronicle:

The subpoenas ask for all documents, notes, telephone records and other relevant materials related to contact involving Earle and two of his assistants with the grand juries. Two of the three grand juries returned indictments against DeLay, and the third issued a no-bill.

Defense attorney Dick DeGuerin told the Associated Press that Earle refused the subpoena delivered to his office on Tuesday, when he declined to sign a paper acknowledging its delivery. Earle countered that he voluntarily accepted it.

DeGuerin said he would redeliver subpoenas Wednesday. Earle responded that redelivery wasn't necessary.

"It was not a properly prepared subpoena, but we accepted service voluntarily anyway,'' the prosecutor said. He refused to say whether he would file a motion to have his subpoena dismissed.


DeLay wants a dismissal of the indictments based on prosecutorial misconduct. In motions filed Friday, he accused Earle of trying to "browbeat and coerce" the grand jurors who refused to indict DeLay.

The motion also accuses Earle of violating grand jury secrecy laws by urging the foreman of the grand jury that first indicted DeLay to speak publicly about an indictment.

"Because of laws protecting grand jury secrecy, there are limitations to what we can say at this time, but we fully expect to prevail in this matter," Earle said in a statement.

Here's what one criminal defense lawyer said:

Keith Hampton, a lobbyist with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said that a defense attorney is entitled to get testimony of a witness who appeared before a grand jury to use in examining that same witness at a trial.

"But the communications between prosecutors and grand jurors are not subject to a subpoena," said Hampton.

Hampton said that the Legislature has repeatedly rejected bills that would allow inroads into grand jury secrecy.

I guess that DeLay should have required candidates sign a pledge on these bills to open grand juries before TRMPAC helped elect those GOP legislators back in 2002, huh?


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