Perry Takes The Perp Walk

perry2Yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry turned himself in response to the indictment for alleged abuse of power. Regardless of how you feel about Perry, he takes a damn good mug shot.

Rod_Blagojevich_mug_shotAs we have discussed in the past, there is always a debate with celebrities on how to appear in a mugshot. If you smile, you can be viewed as cocky or unrepentant. If you frown, you can look guilty. You know that whatever picture you take, it will be plastered around the world. Perry went the faintly bemused route and I think it was the best optics under the circumstances for a sitting governor. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich went with a more determined look that came across like a trapped animal.

XXX _TOM-DELAY.JPG A CLJ USA TXAFP US-CRIME-JOHN EDWARDS A CLJ USA NCHowever, Tom DeLay and John Edwards took the same “happy to be here” look at their mugshot moments.

To smile in such a circumstance is no easy task.

As I have written on this blog and in a column, I believe that the indictment is factually and legally weak. The indictment dangerously blurs the line between political and criminal actions. It also raises serious problems under the separation of powers doctrine. This week, the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and a number of liberal figures also denounced the indictment as excessive or abusive. There remains some who cannot see beyond their intense dislike for Perry to see the dangers inherent in this type of criminalization of political decisions. As I stated before, I believe that Perry was wrong to veto the funding for this office, but he has a constitutional right to veto such funding (subject to a legislative override).

Forcing a governor to take a mug shot and appear in such a facially weak case is deeply disturbing. This was a case that should never have been brought with the simple use of prosecution discretion. Neither of these state provisions clearly put a governor on notice that such decisions could lead to criminal prosecution — nor should they. I have been a regular critic of Perry but I believe that he was wrongly charged unless the prosecutor has some incredible evidence (and a likely superseding indictment) in mind. I cannot think what that evidence would be however. Perry publicly threatened to veto funding after the incarceration of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. I believe that there is a strong case for dismissal to put before the court as a threshold legal matter.

This office has had a questionable history of prosecutions, including the charging of former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison two decades ago (this case is being brought under the authority of the office but through an outside special prosecutor). She was charged with using state employees to plan her Christmas vacation in Colorado and write thank-you notes. The case was so weak that it took only 30 minutes for the jury to find her not guilty on all charges. It was a manifestly weak case that should not have been brought. This case presents the same concern in stretching these provisions to breaking point to criminalize the threat and the veto of the appropriations line.

210 thoughts on “Perry Takes The Perp Walk”

  1. What one PAC did with Perry’s Mug Shot:

    They’re putting it on a tee shirt, and selling it. The shirts, going for $25 apiece, feature Perry’s mugshot on the front, captioned with “Wanted (For Securing The Border And Defeating Democrats).” Compare that with the back of the tee shirt, showing the mugshot of his accuser, Rosemary Lehmberg, with the words “Guilty (Driving While Intoxicated And Perversion of Justice).”

    1. david, I don’t mind a political joke, but to take it seriously shows a lack of integrity. Lehmberg is NOT Perry’s accuser. In FACT, she did the honorable thing and recused herself from the complaint and washed her hands of any involvement in it. Then you compound the error by dismissing any concern about the fact that Perry has acted with enough disregards for the law that he wound up being indicted for those crimes he is alleged to have committed. The fact that officials have been convicted in Texas for things Perry has done should give you more than a little pause.

      1. randyjet wrote: “Lehmberg is NOT Perry’s accuser.”

        Perry is being accused of criminal actions against Lehmberg. Do you seriously believe that she does not accuse Perry of harming her? How could this ever go to trial if she gets up to testify that Perry committed no crime against her? Furthermore, the complaint originated in her office, and if she thought it had no merit, it would have died there. She passed it on apparently because she believes the complaint has merit. It seems to be a very reasonable assumption that Lehmberg accuses Perry of this alleged crime.

        randyjet wrote: “The fact that officials have been convicted in Texas for things Perry has done should give you more than a little pause.”

        Please name at least two officials who have been convicted for this alleged crime of Perry’s.

        1. david I suggest you read more than FAUX news and the like. The Texas Tribune has a good story about Texans for Public Justice which brought the complaint against Perry. It points out Lehmberg had nothing to do with bringing the complaint. In FACT, she passed on acting on it. Then you have to remember the FACT that it was a GOP judge and special prosecutor who brought the indictment and charges. As for Lehmberg even testifying, that is not even needed since she has no dog in this hunt.

          Sheriff Randy Kairnes was found guilty of bribery when his campaign manager offered his opponent a job in the sheriff’s office if he would withdraw his candidacy. While this is not an exact copy of the charges, it is similar with the Sheriff doing something which is perfectly legal, hiring a person, for corrupt ends. Thus while Perry can veto legislation, he cannot do it for corrupt or illegal ends. THAT is the point which the special prosecutor has and will make.

          1. randyjet, I get information from all sources, not just the most popular and reliable cable news channel, Fox News, but also CNN, WSJ, WND, NBC, ABC, etc. Your left leaning news source has misled you about how the complaints are handled. Complaints only get moved on if Lehmberg’s office finds merit to the complaint.

            Assuming that the complaint had merit, she rightly moved it out of her office because of her own conflict of interest. However, it should not be overlooked that her office also had the option of not advancing the complaint if she thought there was nothing illegal about what Perry did. The complaint alleged four crimes. From the complaint: “I further believe that the aforesaid James Richard “Rick” Perry’s actions likely violated Texas Penal Code § 36.03 COERCION OF A PUBLC [sic] SERVANT OR VOTER, Penal Code § 36.02 BRIBERY, Penal Code § 39.02 ABUSE OF OFFICIAL CAPACITY, and Penal Code § 39.03 OFFICIAL OPPRESSION.” The Grand Jury, led by a raging Democratic partisan, returned indictments for only two of the four alleged crimes.

            You alleged that other officials had been convicted in Texas for the same crime, but when I ask you for two examples, you present only one example of a Sheriff convicted of bribery. Well, bribery is one of the charges dismissed by the judicial process against Perry.

            The motivation of Perry asking for Lehmberg’s resignation was not corrupt. He wants the Public Integrity Unit to be run by someone who has a good reputation in the community, not a drunk who is shown all over the news trying to use her official capacity as District Attorney to get out of her legal problems. She was on tape asking to call Sheriff Greg [Hamilton], claiming there is no way he would let her stay in jail. She even told the officers that they were going to be in jail, not her. Clearly the corrupt politician here is Lehmberg. She was attempting to use her position as D.A. for personal benefit. If you have any doubt, just watch the video tape.

            If I were Perry, I could not in good conscience support funding that department, and I would do exactly what Perry did. I would tell her, if you want your department to keep its funding, then resign. I would also ask Lehmberg for her recommendations about who should replace her.

            Concerning Lehmberg’s testimony being necessary, you probably are right concerning the prosecution, but the defense may very well subpoena her. I know I would. I would want the jury to see her character, to know about her alcoholism, about her buying $60 bottles of Vodka every week. I want the jury to see all the video tape of her arrest, and ask that jury, “would you want to use taxpayer money to fund a Public Integrity Unit headed up by this woman?” I would ask, “whose interest is Perry looking out for? His own, or the people of Texas? Obviously, he is looking out for the people of Texas with both this announcement of a coming veto if she stays on, and the actual veto.”

            1. david, Simply having one DUI off duty does not make one unfit to hold a job. Even airline captains are allowed ONE DUI without action on their license or medical, but it does have to be reported, and the FAA will have a look at your record more closely. Two DUIs in your file, you will be grounded, thus Bush and Cheney would be ineligible to be an airline pilot, unless they had successfully completed an alcohol treatment program. Then the fact is that there were TWO DAs who also had DUIs while in office, yet Perry had nothing to say about them, nor did he ask them to resign. Of course they were GOPers and buddies of Perry, so to think that Perry has the welfare of the people of Texas in mind when he wanted get rid of Lehmberg is absurd. No rational person who knows Rick could say that.

              The reason the bribery charges were dropped was because Lehmberg did not testify to his offering another job to her. That was widely reported, but the heart of the charges were not concerning her or her actions or testimony. I am certain the special prosecutor figured that any testimony by her along those lines would not be accepted, so he gave Perry a pass.

              As for her using her office to get out of the charges, since she is the DA, she could have had her office simply not press charges, and THAT would be misusing her office to get out of jail. Saying things while drunk is hardly an abuse of office, and it got her nowhere, but in deeper trouble. I guess she forgot she was a Democrat and that the Guv would not forgive her like he did his buddies.

              1. randyjet – it was not the DUI that Perry was complaining about. It was the ‘special treatment’ she was demanding from the deputies and threats she was making to them. The head of the Office of Public Integrity should have public integrity. Although, given her office, the DUI is a real problem as well.

              2. Randy, in your posts, you keep saying DUI when her conviction was for DWI. In Texas, there is a distinction between DUI and DWI. DUI concerns a zero tolerance policy of any detectable alcohol, normally reserved for minors under 21 years of age.

                In Texas, intoxication is grounds for removal from public office.

                Sec. 87.013. GENERAL GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL. (a) An officer may be removed for:
                (1) incompetency;
                (2) official misconduct; or
                (3) intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage.
                (b) Intoxication is not a ground for removal if it appears at the trial that the intoxication was caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage on the direction and prescription of a licensed physician practicing in this state.
                Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

                Nevertheless, what is worse than her single DWI conviction is the public display she made during her arrest. Do you really not get that? Further investigation revealed that she is an alcoholic. Under oath she admitted that she had lied to law enforcement officers about how much alcohol she had consumed. Do you really not understand how many people do not want their Public Integrity Unit run by the town drunk who believes her position as D.A. should keep her out of jail because her buddy Greg the Sheriff would take care of her?

                In regards to the other D.A.’s with DWI’s, Perry did not control their budget because they did not receive State funding. You neglect to mention that the local GOP chairman, Bill Baker, did ask the Kaufman County District Attorney Rick Harrison to resign after his DWI. Perry didn’t get involved because it was basically a local matter not a State matter. The Republicans got rid of both DA’s in the next primary, so it is a red herring to bring them up.

  2. The Confederacy was split with some nations supporting the British because the colonists were taking so much of their land. A couple of nations supported the colonists. This was a bad decisions because it split the confederacy. Sullivan’s march was undertaken as punishment to all Iroquois for some of them aiding the British.

  3. OK. So these, how you say, Iroquois were communists?

    Say no more. Although…

    I would be very interested to hear a comprehensive description of the government of grass or an ant colony.

    Will you next inform us how the Iroquois tutored Vattel in preparation for his work on the Law of Nations and how the Iroquois directed the American Founders in their writing of the Constitution, not Vattel? The proof is in the pudding, isn’t it? The success of those Iroquois stands to this day, right?

    1. John – those would be the same Iroquois who fought for the British during the American Revolution?

  4. The Iroquois had clans in each nation/tribe, known as the wolf clan, beaver clan, bear clan, etc. Each clan had clan mothers that selected the male chiefs that sat on the nation/tribe assembly.The assembly would take up various issues. Consensus was required for action. That is, all chiefs in the assembly had to go along with the proposed action or the action didn’t take place. This was true in the assembly of the nation/tribe and in the assembly of the Confederacy which was made up of the chiefs of the six nations/tribes. For the Confederacy, they had a written agreement on the relationship of the nations/tribes.

    Chiefs who behaved badly or contrary to the good of the clan or the nation/ tribe, could be removed by the clan mother who would then appoint a replacement. How’s that for accountability, checks and balance?

    There were rules about which clan one could marry into which was an effective way of preventing incest. This, while the European royals were marrying first cousins. One’s clan identification was based on the mother.

    As to land ownership, deeds etc. They are unnecessary when the people agree that all actions are to be for the betterment of entire community. It’s only when the greed of ownership for the individual takes over that all the trappings of ownership become important. In Europe and the US it’s the very, very rich that own most of the land and other assets that they protect with laws and the police, not for the benefit of all, but for the benefit of a relatively small handful of people who are driven by greed.

  5. bettykath,



    1. originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native (often followed by to):

    You are wrong and there is no point in continuing to present falsity. The Indians in America, a nation established in 1789, did not originate here, are Asiatic and came here using the Alaskan Land Bridge. There are no “indigenous Americans.” That phrase is a construct to use for the purposes of anti-American, pro-One-World indoctrination by collectivists/ socialists/ progressives/ communists/ liberals/democrats. America was constituted in 1789 and the Indians held no documents of citizenship which, from the perspective of American law, made them illegal aliens at worst or undocumented individuals at best.

    “The first democracy was the Iroquois Six Nation Confederacy and it influenced the US Constitution.” That is why the Preamble states “secure the blessings of liberty to the Iroquois and the Iroquois posterity,” not “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Seriously? Nomadic, hunter-gatherers with a “democracy.” The Iroquois surveyed no land, granted no tracts, established no deeds or persisting halls of records; there existed no quantifiable nation for “Iroquois democracy” to hold dominion over.

    Iroquois Indians had governance, I concede and agree. Similarly, grass has governance in that it spreads and grows away from conflict with other grass. Packs of wolves and hump-back whales have governance as demonstrated by coordinated activity. American governance is a more complex, sophisticated, advanced and profound form of governance, if you like. Your immaterial and extreme position that the Iroquois had governance can be infinitely expanded to include the governance of celestial bodies throughout the universe. There is no point in discussing without parameters. You can continue to argue for argument’s sake but it’s an exercise in futility. At the very least, the Iroquois had an insufficient government entirely bereft of security and military component to support their government, such as it was. The Iroquois had and made no case in an international court, which did not exist in the event.

    Were your positions accurate, veracious and of measureable weight, we would be speaking Iroquois in Iroquoisland eating Iroquois cuisine, would we not?


    P.S. The help was paid for their work. They realized the incentive. Good for them. They came for the work and reaped the benefit of wages. Their expectations and contracts were fulfilled. The architect/developers of buildings and railroads possess appropriate titles and deeds and have a legal right to enjoy their property. Labor generates wages, not equity or ownership. The help does not obtain citizenship or vote in Saudi Arabia. Slaves who were sold by their own tribal chiefs to British traders and planters were emancipated by Americans. Good for them.

    P.P.S. That you covet does not mean you own, You may assault, batter, coerce and cajole your way into possession of that of which you covet of those of whom you are jealous, but that you covet, is not a legitimate endeavor or noble accomplishment; and, likely, unsustainable.

  6. Several jurors said they took exception to Perry’s remarks.

    One, who asked not to be named, said he expects the public perception to change once the full scope of the prosecutor’s case becomes public.

    “I think if and when the facts come out, that’ll change,” the juror said.

    All six jury members reached by the Chronicle said they were told it would be illegal for them to discuss the grand jury proceedings. The willingness of some to discuss their thoughts in general terms may indicate frustration with Perry’s defense.

  7. Paul C, Oh, I guess he or she should have been disqualified for being an active democrat. Never been asked about party affiliation when I was called for jury duty..

    1. SWM – they had already checked your political affiliation before you sat down for the jury pool. This is a case where it is clearly political in nature. However, grand jurys just have to have a majority verdict to vote a true bill. It took three grand jurys to get Tom Delay.

    1. SWM – the sanctity of the Grand Jury has been breached. No one, except at some point the defendant and his team, are supposed to know what is going on in the Grand Jury room. BTW, one of the jurymen is very active in Democratic politics in Travis County.

  8. davidm2575

    Here is a link to the case mentioned by Robert that suggests coercion does not apply in Perry’s situation:
    Great case DavidM.

    Note that it is an “as applied” case which effectively means on “a case by case basis.”

    Your next comment was about Eugene Volokh’s take on it.

    He pointed out something interesting: “The Hanson court did note that the relevant subdefinition of “coercion” was amended, effective 1989 — before the court decision but after Judge Hanson’s conduct — to apply only to “a threat, however communicated … to unlawfully take or withhold action as a public servant, or to cause a public servant to unlawfully take or withhold action.” But it turns out that, after the Hanson decision, the definition was amended back (effective 1994) to remove the “unlawfully.”

    One has to wonder why the legislature goes back and forth on that statute.

    Nevertheless, the case you cited is instructive in several ways.

    1. Dredd wrote: “One has to wonder why the legislature goes back and forth on that statute.”

      Yeah, I wondered exactly the same thing.

  9. mespo727272,


    On my way out the door, but have to say that’s a Pretty chilling video.
    Don’t know which one your mean mespo, but yes, both of them have chilling elements in them.

    Meme complexes, cultures, sub-cultures, religions, and the like, tend to overly encapsulate conforming ideas and overly reject non-conforming ideas.

  10. The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.” -Will Rogers

  11. Bettykath, and to think that he taught history. Was he one of those protected by a teachers union that some here always like to bring up? American-American, what a notion, after three generations, ridiculous. American in waiting, also ridiculous. If you’re a naturalized American you have the same rights and responsibilities as any other American citizen. Hate immigrants? Your relatives were immigrants too, doesn’t matter how many generations back it was. I’m an immigrant and my daughter, a first generation American on my side serves this country more nobly than you do Paul.

  12. Paul, Your American-American includes the descendants of all the indigenous people of the country, the descendants of the slaves imported from Africa, the Chinese who were instrumental in building the railroads, the descendants of the Great Migration from what is now the UK and the descendants of the Irish potato famine, the great grandchildren of the refugees from WWII and most likely other groups. (We’ll ignore the fact that Canadians and Brazilians and all who live in between are also of the Americans), So why the double speak? Why not just call us all Americans? So anyone whose grandma or grandpa was born in another country is a hyphenated American.

    John, Your American-American has to have many ancestors who came from Europe in ships. How many generations? Why do you exclude those from other countries who have been here as long? Why are they also not American-American? Immigrants from Africa built many of the buildings in Washington DC, and throughout the south, probably the north as well. They provided much of the labor that created the early wealth of the country.

    Your understanding of the culture the indigenous people of this country is seriously lacking. The first democracy was the Iroquois Six Nation Confederacy and it influenced the US Constitution. They had governance within the tribes/nations as well as among the tribes/nations.

    1. bettykath and annie – Although ‘American-Americans’ is not my invention it is how I would define it. Since we cannot use certain terms anymore because Progressives and Liberals have decided they are politically incorrect, why not invent new ones to amuse ourselves. I have decided that from now on I am to be described as a Celtic-American (I am throwing my German ancestors under the bus) or American-American.

      BTW, the schools I worked at did not have a union, we worked ‘at-will.’ Only one school offered me a contract, but there was no union. One of the problems with a contract is that it cuts both ways. If you do not like teaching there or teaching, you can still be held to the contract.

  13. bettykath,

    If I go to China, am I Chinese?

    Every single person on this planet is an American-In-Waiting. Those “Americans” from elsewhere know they have a problem with the facts so they readily admit to being Bangladeshi-American or Indonesian-American, for example. Now every person in the world can arrive in American and obtain American citizenship because the democrats want more voters but they know they can’t speak American English and no one will actually believe they look like an American so they readily admit that they are Korean-American or Arab-American. See how that works. Every single person in the world is an American-In-Waiting. The people who are American because they are Americans from America, born of two American parents who came from long lines of Americans whose ancestors came from Europe on ships and built a country, really don’t know what they are in contrast to every single other person in the world who, obviously by now, is an American-In-Waiting. Not to worry though. American wealth has entirely been squandered giving out free stuff and American influence is in decline. Perhaps every single person in the world will soon morph into Chinese-In-Waiting. John McCain said, in his Presidential campaign, that he was transferring power and wealth to China so I guess it is so (McCain has that power; he once had the power of a jet fighter but he crashed it. He once had the power of America but he crashed that too). Then the Chinese will have to refer to Chinese people as Chinese-Chinese because everybody loves a winner and everybody loving winners will be in China and they will call themselves Chinese causing orders of magnitude more confusion.

    It’s life. You have to learn to cope.

    It might be appropriate, at this juncture, for American-Americans to apologize for being American, huh?

  14. bettykath

    To be sure there are no “indigenous people of the Americas.” That is an oxymoron and that is its highest and only value. Asians came around on the long since sunken Alaskan Land Bridge. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers and did not establish a country. They adopted no constitution; they did no surveys; there were no awards of land tracts; there are no recorded deeds. At best, the early Asians are illegal or undocumented aliens in America by law.

    The United States were established by revolution from the British Empire. American adopted a Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Land was surveyed, tracts established and deeds are recorded. Laws of citizenship define who is an American. The aforementioned has been such since 1789.

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