Monday, October 03, 2005

Tom Delay is but the shiny, pus-filled head of a much larger and deeper boil on the ass of America.

And that boil, dear readers, is called the Republican Party. As the linked article makes clear, you can lance the boil and let some pus out, but let it go untreated and it will grow another slimier, dirtier and more deeply infected head.

But this isn't a post about medicine, so much as one about legal procedure. If you read this CNN story you will see Tom Delay assert, as he has repeatedly over the last few days, that the indictments passed down against him are products of Ronnie Earl's partisan vendetta. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. Given that Mr. Delay is making this accusation, I'd like to suggest that he has the burden of proof with regards to that statement. Specifically, I'd like to see Mr. Delay prove that a grand jury indictment has been fabricated with partisan ends.

Consider for a second, the following paragraph from the Travis County's court website concerning the rights of defendants in felony cases:

"In Texas, the law dictates that before a defendant can be forced to face trial in a felony case, a grand jury must return an indictment for the specific offense charged. A grand jury consists of 12 citizens who sit for a period of three months and listen to allegations of criminal wrongdoing. Nine members must determine that probable cause exists to believe the defendant has committed the offense and vote a true bill before the indictment will issue. The defendant has no right to appear before the grand jury or offer evidence before that body, but the grand jury can allow such evidence if it desires."

Huh. Assuming Ronnie Earl, in his vast and partisan conspiracy to deny Tom Delay his god-given right to subvert democracy hasn't altered the Travis County website and filled it with lies, this means that at least 9 out of 12 people viewed the evidence against Tom Delay and determined that there was probable cause that he broke the law. And what, exactly, is probable cause? Well, we know that it requires less evidence than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in trials. However, it requires more evidence than a "mere suspicion" that a crime has occurred. The exact definition is unclear and has traditionally been defined by courts to be some version of a "what would a reasonable man" believe.

Which brings us back to the issue of Tom Delay. Assuming that Ronnie Earl is out on some political witchhunt, how exactly did he get 9 or more grand jury members to agree that Tom Delay broke the law? Did he pay them? Did he coerce them? Did he just show them the evidence and let them decide? If he did, is it really a partisan witchhunt or is Tom Delay just the scuzzbucket fucktard we know him to be?