The conviction of Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful Republican wheelers-and-dealers in Congress, marks the beginning of a lengthy and vehement appeals process that will seek to cleanse the name and record of the former House majority leader.
DeLay's lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, expressed confidence on Friday the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin will rule in his favor because it has in the past. Add to that a varied assortment of available arguments, and DeGuerin and law experts say they're convinced this is only the start of what will become a precedent-setting case.
Here are the Justices who comprise the 3rd CCA. But the list isn't up-to-date. From the Austin Chronicle:
Still, (Judge Jeff Rose's) appointment to the 3rd Court means the influential bench – which covers appeals in 24 counties, appeals from state agencies, and high-profile public corruption cases – is now firmly Republican-controlled, with four GOP judges (Bob Pemberton, David Puryear, Rose, and the newly elected Melissa Goodwin) and just two Dems (Chief Justice Woodie Jones and Judge Diane Henson).
More from the first link...
Some legal experts argue that such unprecedented cases immediately raise the interest of the appellate courts. Others, however, note that Texas' conservative, largely Republican appellate courts do not have a strong record of siding with defendants.
"Statistically, he is going to be fighting an uphill battle," said Philip H. Hilder, a former prosecutor who is now a Houston-based criminal attorney concentrating on white-collar cases.
The courts could see it as a "partisan fight" though, Hilder said.
"Then the courts are of his political persuasion," he added. "But still, they would have to rely on precedent and they will have to really do back flips to do any favor to him."
The appellate court in Austin has previously ruled in DeLay's favor — striking down the first indictment and parts of the second, an indication the court thinks DeLay had a valid argument, DeGuerin said. So while the criminal court of appeals overturned that decision saying the issues first had to be brought to trial, DeGuerin says the court's previous ruling paved the way for support now that the trial is over.
I have previously posted about the odious Puryear and his now-departed colleague Waldrop here, and also here. Pemberton was deputy counsel to Gov. Perry prior to his appointment. You should expect no better from Rose and Goodwin, who defeated Kurt Kuhn earlier this month. More background on that just-completed contest again from the Austin Chronic and Burnt Orange, and this Off the Kuff post contains more links to his considerable pre-election coverage.
Tom DeLay still has plenty to be thankful for.
Update: lightseeker at Texas Kaos analyzes the reframing.