The papers of Craig to withdraw his guilty plea are now public. For the papers, click here As expected, they argue that Craig’s decision (despite many days of consideration) was made without counsel and sufficient thought. This falls under the category of more stupidity and manifest injustice. The officers clearly misled Craig on the strength of the evidence but Craig is now trying to address a self-inflicted wound.
6 thoughts on “Craig Papers: Senator Seeks to Undo Plea with Manifest Injustice Claim”
Indeed, it was a bad move all around. It was interpreted as “pulling rank” and probably made the case much more interesting to the officers. To put it bluntly, Craig was an unmitigated fool from the beginning to the end of this process. Literally every act and decision that he made was demonstrably wrong. Even random choices would have produced a higher score. It is for that reason, and a few others, that people clearly have no sympathy for the man.
Mr. Turley, as a legal scholar I want to pose a question to you.
It is known that during the police interview, Senator Craig presented the officer with his business card. Do you think that was about the stupidest thing he could have done?
My wife is a private investigator, and much of her work results in convictions in federal court. Plea agreements, to my understanding, are based on a matter of balance or leverage: the state risks an acquittal in open court, while the accused risks stiffer punishment for greater charges if convicted. The side at greater risk is more likely to agree to a deal. If the state’s case is strong, there’s no reason to deal. But if the case is weak, the state will offer a deal to save face (and, of course, save resources that can be used on more important cases).
In this case, if Larry Craig had NOT been a public figure, he only risks exposure to his family and employer (assuming he was in the airport on business). Since a misdemeanor trial attracts little or no attention, the probability that he could challenge the case in court without risk of exposing himself to ridicule is high. And given the weakness of the charges (in your opinion, and I agree == the office should have let Senator Craig actually initiate the sex act before arresting him), the prosecutor would likely have dropped the charges rather than waste the court’s time. In this hypothetical situation where Craig isn’t a Senator, he has no reason to accept a deal and can fight it.
But that all changed when the Craig identified himself as a U.S. Senator. Now, the officer clearly has the advantage and knows Senator Craig will take a plea deal because of the public exposure.
It’s an example of how bad Craig’s judgement is, at least under pressure. You play the “I’m a Senator” card when you’re trying to get out of a traffic ticket — not when you’re busted playing footsie with a police officer in a public toilet.
And to carry this Poor Judgement issue a step further, Senator Craig said he copped the plea because he the Idaho Statesman was hounding him about rumors he was gay. Well, if someone is trying to out you, isn’t the last thing you want to do is play footsie in a public toilet?
I don’t live in Idaho, thank G-d. They deserve better representation.
Fair enough. He is an adult and should have known the consequences. I still however queston the basis for the charge. Few people weep for Craig given his moronic conduct and past willingness to censure or expel other members. This may be a case where the principle is more compelling than the person.
I find myself largely disappointed that someone that we are trusting to create and vote on laws that affect our country, is not capable of knowing what the consequences are of pleading guilty to inappropriate behavior.
Just typical republican behavior in my opinion.
Indeed, those are all the salient points. He is really arguing post-plea regret which is routinely denied as a basis for withdrawal of a plea. There is no question that he panicked. However, as you noted, the delay between the arrest and the plea erodes that claim considerably. Frankly, I view the entire charge to be based on the least compelling claims by the officer. They should not have charged such conduct without something more in terms of prohibited conduct. However, Craig’s buyer’s remorse would not convince most judges.
I am confused by this.
How can he withdraw a guilty plea when the plea agreement he signed stated that he wasn’t innocent?
Is withdrawing your plea after the fact even allowed? Could the average citizen get away with this?
Wasn’t there a 10 day lag time between the time of his arrest and the time he mailed in his plea agreement? (according to news reports) It seems he had plenty of time to think about this before sending it in.
How can he claim innocence now?
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