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Author Topic: Shopping for Grand Juries
flydye45
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9600863/

Here's the time line as I understand it:

Delay was indicted under a first grand jury. The charge was thrown out because the law wasn't applicable for the time the supposed wrongdoing was done. This was thrown out.

The prosecuter went to a second grand jury who didn't buy his premise. It happens, but rarely with grand juries.

So he went and found a third grand jury, which did indict under a new law.

Both the first and the third were presided over by Democrats. I don't know if that's relevant as damning their judgement, because the same could be said for the second, which was probably a Republican.

So do we hesitate to rush to judgment by some of these irregularities. Is there evidence that this is a redistricting tantrum by bitter Democrats (who lost), or is there ham in this indictment sandwich?

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David Ricardo
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Here's the ham for your sandwich:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/06/AR2005100601903.html

quote:
Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay.

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javelin
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Now, I'd convict on THAT evidence, I most surely would (not). *sigh*
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Digger
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And from the same article:
quote:
Although the indictment alleges that DeLay and his two aides "conducted, supervised, and facilitated" the transactions, DeLay said last weekend, about the $190,000 sent from Texas to Washington, that "there was no way that I knew before this event happened that it would happen." Earle would need to prove otherwise to sustain his case.
The trouble with these types of indictments is that the proof often lies not only with the forensic accounting, but with the amount of knowledge possessed by the indicted at the time of the activity. That's why these kinds of indictments are often easy to get (because there's a whiff of wrongdoing based on the financial records), but hard to prove to a jury (because there's usually a good case of reasonable doubt based on who knew what and when).

I don't know if there's any ham in the sandwich, but there are some pigs around somewhere, in either DeLay's office, Earle's, or both.

[ October 07, 2005, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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flydye45
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David, so Earle's shopping doesn't give you any pause at all because...dum dum dum! it's Tom DeLay?

Perhaps that is not fair. I am more then happy to have this resolved fairly in court. There is a whiff of collusion so let's hash this out.

However, the fact that the Texas Democrats have turned out to be Very Sore Losers with their childish tantrums across state lines and the fact that Earle needed a Democrat to panel the Grand Jury wouldn't give me the warm and fuzzies if they represented my ideological side in the legal proceedings.

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Zyne
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quote:
Both the first and the third were presided over by Democrats. I don't know if that's relevant as damning their judgement, because the same could be said for the second, which was probably a Republican.
I have no information except from you about the political leanings of folks on those grand juries. Where are you getting this--is there a credible source you can cite, or do I conclude that this is just another exercise in Republican fiction writing?
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TCB
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From the article, Earle said that the third grand jury was convened because he discovered new evidence after the term of the second grand jury expired.

As to this:
quote:
...the Texas Democrats have turned out to be Very Sore Losers with their childish tantrums across state lines...
I'd thought from your authorship of the gerrymandering thread that you were aware of the harmful effects of that practice. There was nothing childish about the Texas Democrats using all their powers to try to prevent it.
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flydye45
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Yes, I am against gerrymandering. I am also aware that these are the rules as they stand. For thirty years of so, the Democrats have enjoyed using these rules to cement their rules and enjoyed putting the screws to their opposition.

Now that they are out of power, it's not so much fun. [Wink] This strikes at the off thread point of thinking about the rules you make by imagining them applied against YOU. So, yes, ignoring the point of gerrymandering, they are sore losers.


Zyne, I got that information by an article by Wes Pruden. As his conservative credentials automatically labels him as a tool to many liberal posters, and he didn't cite his source, I left it out initially. However he cited judges names, so I would take that with some seriousness.

As far as the second grand jury, they returned a "no bill" on his presentation. As this is a matter of court record, it cannot be "republican fiction writing".

[ October 09, 2005, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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Digger
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"There was nothing childish about the Texas Democrats using all their powers to try to prevent it."

You of course mean to try to prevent the Republicans from undoing the Democratic gerrymander with their own version. I have a hard time seeing the nobility in that.

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TCB
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If the Republicans merely undid earlier Democratic gerrymanders to ensure reasonable and fair redistricting then I'd agree that the Democrats were being childish. But the new gerrymander is at least as unfair as the original one.

It's maybe a microcosm of the Republican revolution -- despite all the promises to bring fairness and transparency to government, they actively consolidated their grip on power. When they gained power, suddenly the corruption and dishonesty didn't seem so egregious.

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Pete at Home
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Best way I can think of to reform the rules re gerrymandering, is to change the underpinning constitutional rules in a way that does away with the need for districting.

Have all the House candidates for the state run against each other, pick the top 1, 3, or 9 (dependent on the # of seats allotted to the state) and then give each house reps vote proportionate to the number of persons that voted for them.

[ October 09, 2005, 05:10 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Dave at Work
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quote:
Have all the House candidates for the state run against each other, pick the top 1, 3, or 9 (dependent on the # of seats allotted to the state) and then give each house reps vote proportionate to the number of persons that voted for them.
I can't agree with this. Whatever advantages it may bring it also gives something away at the same time. One aspect of representation is that the representative has a particular constituancy. I know who it is that represents my district in the US House of Representatives, as well as who represents me in the US Senate and who represents me in Springfield in both houses of the Illinois Legislature. These individuals maintain offices in their districts so that their constituents can voice their concerns to them. From time to time they come to various venues in their districts to talk about what they are doing and ask for our opinions. In short they represent a group of people smaller than the whole of the state of Illinois. If these representatives are chosen based on placing in the top however many positions in a statewide election, who exactly are their constiuents? Should a representative from a county in southern Illinios go back to his hometown and surrounding area or to Chicago for input and feedback on what he should be doing and what he is doing right or wrong? I believe that making such a change would result in a shift in influence to big population centers far out of proportion to what the population difference actually is. Those living in lower density population centers would be under represented since most representatives would now cater to those living in higher density population centers in order to continue getting enough votes to place in the pool of Representatives every two years and spend much less time worrying about the concerns of those in lower density populations. Just my two cents worth.
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flydye45
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The point is not that the Republicans are winding up as arguably as corrupt as the Democrats; it is that when they were the minority party, the Republicans were not running around whining like little girls that their power was gone. I am ashamed by the first and proud of the second.

That said, there will be no "compromise" candidates until the laws are changed, not quibbiling over who is acting worse (though for the record, I wonder how many here really had a problem with the Democrat gerrymanders [Smile] )

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Redskullvw
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Zyne

from what I have heard in regard to the grand jury's used by the DA against Tom Delay, according to CNN/Fox/MSNBC while they were explaining the announcement of the indictment, the DA had previously presented to two other gand juries. Both of them declined to indict. The first indictment handed down was explained as being a twelfth hour indictment on a lowest charge possible by a third grand jury just before it was disbanded. So thats at least 3 grand juries.

Then it became apparent that the DA's charge would not have been viable because it was involved with a texas law passed two years after the time period of the alledged conspiracy indictment. So he took it to yet another Grand Jury which apparently had been empanelled for 30 minutes and presented the original letter of indictment as specific cause to prepare a wholely new indictment of money laundering. So as it stands the indictment for conspiracy originally handed down is DOA since the conspiracy it alledges would have been wholely legal under Texas law at the time of the alledged act. The second indictment from the fourth grand jury however is still alive.

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Zyne
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quote:
Zyne, I got that information by an article by Wes Pruden. As his conservative credentials automatically labels him as a tool to many liberal posters, and he didn't cite his source, I left it out initially. However he cited judges names, so I would take that with some seriousness.

As far as the second grand jury, they returned a "no bill" on his presentation. As this is a matter of court record, it cannot be "republican fiction writing".

Link?

I mean that the political affiliation of the grand jury leaders was fiction. Sheer fantasy. Worthy of a battle axe and a leather loin cloth type fansaty.

And what does citing judges' names have to do with anything? They are, afterall, each in the phone book.

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Zyne
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Redskull, I am not confused about the facts. I am confused about how it is that flydye has divined the party affiliations of the folks who presided over the various grand juries. That's all my inquiries are about.
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Redskullvw
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Ah hadn't seen that part of the thread i guess. As to the makeup of the jury pool or the people empaneld I have not a clue. For that matter I do not think there is a way to know their political leanings. I would guess that the area is probly marginaly democrat, but that would also be Southern Democrat meaning that as far as political philosophy goes such people would be more likely to fit the rest of the nation's idea of what a republican would be. Like the rest of the south local political power is almost exclusively the domain of a democrat party. And since you have to be a voter to be on a jury if they had political leanings I would suspect they would tend to lean more for delay than for a national democrat agenda.

Basicly since we can't know one way or the other, unless the previous three juries go public, or wait until the current jury ends its term and goes public, there isn't really any way to know. I will say this, hitting a gradn jury just empanelled thirty minutes before with a request for an additional indictment because the first is flawed strikes me as very odd.

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flydye45
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http://www.washtimes.com/national/pruden.htm


quote:
The first indictments were returned last week, and then the district attorney discovered that well, maybe the law under which the indictment was returned didn't apply after all. Hmmmmm. Maybe somebody ought to do it over. But the term of Mr. Earle's original grand jury, compliant as all grand juries are expected to be, had expired. So Ronnie Earle went shopping.
But grand jury No. 2 was not so accommodating. Unlike the first grand jury, presided over by a Democrat, No. 2 was presided over by Judge Julie Kocurek, a Republican . The district attorney told the grand jurors that he had "some evidence" which he wanted to show them "out of an abundance of caution." The grand jurors balked. This sometimes happens, and when it does district attorneys sometimes throw fits.
The Associated Press, quoting two sources , reported yesterday that when grand jury No. 2 declined to take Mr. Earle's word for the quality of the ham he was asking them to indict, he became "visibly angry" and the "mood turned unpleasant." This is polite lawyer talk for "the district attorney started kicking and screaming" and "everybody was about to start breaking up the saloon."
Mr. Earle went shopping again. This time he found a grand jury presided over by another Democrat, Judge Brenda Kennedy, which was meeting for its first day of the new term . Four hours later, the Austin American-Statesman reported, the new felony indictments were returned.

I hate to make a lady uncomfortable, but a fine attorney as yourself may realize that judges are not the nonpartisan idealists represented by, say, Clinton's picks, but are political animals frequently beholden to a particular party. You naivete of such a circumstance seems disingenuous.

You have come close to calling me a liar. Time to put away the Howard fantasies and realize that Conan the Democrat maybe isn't the hero you thought he was.

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Redskullvw
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Fly

Zyne wasn't asking about the political orientation of the judges presiding over the grand juries. What she was questioning is the political oreintations of the members of the grand juries. I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know, political affiliation is not generally considered when selecting jury pools or actual members. Like Zyne, I too am wondering how political intent of the jury members can be seen as a reason for how they voted.

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flydye45
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I think that judge instruction on these matters could make quite a vast difference, both for or against. As a lawyer, I am sure Zyne has at least seen how such behaviour could sway things one way or another. I am also curious if this was a "regular" grand jury with Joe Sixpack, or a panel of judges et al who could be trusted to investigate intelligently. As I don't know, I wouldn't guess.
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RickyB
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Well, one thing we do know: DeLay's allegation that Earle tried to pressure the 1st grand jury has been emphatically denied by the jury foreman.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Zyne wasn't asking about the political orientation of the judges presiding over the grand juries. What she was questioning is the political oreintations of the members of the grand juries.
quote:
Redskull, I am not confused about the facts. I am confused about how it is that flydye has divined the party affiliations of the folks who presided over the various grand juries.
*scratches head*

Sounds like she she was asking about political affiliation of presiding judges to me. Certainly flydye45 has only mentioned allegations about the affiliation of those presiding.

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Zyne
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Okay, I see the confusion now. When flydye talked about the person who "presided over" the grand jury, I thought he was referring to the presiding grand juror (the gj version of a foreperson). But he was talking about the judge who was presiding over the proceeding.

quote:
I think that judge instruction on these matters could make quite a vast difference, both for or against.
Oh yea. To most jurors, grand or petit, the judge is GOD.
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flydye45
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I apologize for my snarkiness. I'm glad we cleared this up.
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