Saturday, December 17, 2005

Write your Congressman, Bugman

Judge deals DeLay a setback
A state district judge on Saturday dealt U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay a setback in his quest for a trial in January.

Judge Pat Priest cancelled a Dec. 27 pre-trial hearing and refused to rule now whether DeLay, charged with conspiracy and money-laundering, could be tried in early January on the money-laundering charge alone. The decision could postpone DeLay's trial by weeks, if not months, unless his lawyers can get higher courts to intervene.

DeLay's co-defendants, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, D.C., don't want a quick trial with DeLay.

The Sugar Land Republican, who had to resign as U.S. majority leader when he was indicted in September, wants to be tried alone in January so he can reclaim his leadership job before Congress begins a new term at the end of next month.

The judge said that's not the best use of the court's time.

"Though Mr. DeLay may be entitled to sever the counts (a decision I have actually not yet made), to go to trial on his case alone would require at least two trials where otherwise one would suffice for all three defendants. Out of considerations of judicial economy, I have determined to let my decision concerning a severance of counts wait until after the Third Court of Appeals of Texas, sitting at Austin, has made its ruling," the judge wrote in an e-mail Saturday morning.
Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's lead lawyer, complained that the judge is putting the efficient use of the court's time and resources over DeLay's right to a speedy trial.
Although Priest wrote that he was sure the appellate court would act with "all reasonable dispatch," Priest's decision could mean a delay of weeks, if not months, in DeLay's trial.

Whatsamatter, pumpkin? Don't like the way courts handle the rights of the accussed? Wondering why the overworked, underfunded courts are so slow? Maybe you should talk to the folks who write the laws that stack the deck and short the funds and... oh, right. Never mind.


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