As we near 2016 we near another year overshadowed by the presidential election campaign. Even though 2015 is little more than halfway complete, the intensity of next year’s presidential race can be seen around every corner. Already the airwaves are mulled with smear tactics and the political machines are revving up their engines for, what appears to be, just about anyone’s race. While the Constitution clearly preaches separation of the branches of government, there is an interesting overlap that occurs between the three. This overlap occurs when a political official has violated a law and is even more interesting where that official is running for president of the United States (POTUS). Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has recently found himself campaigning relentlessly for POTUS in the executive while balancing his alleged violations in the judicial. Just last week a state appeals court dismissed one of the charges against Perry claiming that the notion of the violation actually violated Perry’s constitutional right to free speech.
In 2013 Rick Perry was the governor of the great state of Texas. During this time Rosemary Lehmberg served as the Travis County District Attorney. She was also caught driving drunk. At that time Lehmberg presided over the state’s anti-corruption unit. Governor Perry determined, and publicly stated, that she should not be permitted to have such a position. He then called for Lehmberg’s resignation. In addition, he threatened to veto the $7.5 million allotted to the office of Travis County District Attorney if Lehmberg did not resign. Perry was subsequently charged with coercion of a public official and misuse of his office. On July 24th an appeals court dismissed the count of coercion reasoning that his call for Lehmberg’s resignation was an exercise of his right to free speech. The Third Court of Appeals did not dismiss the count of misuse of the office of governor, however, stating that this charge would be heard in trial. The court reasoned that in the absence of evidence they could not make a determination, even on the issue of whether his threat of veto was constitutional.
The special prosecutor assigned to pursue charges against the former governor is Michael McCrum. McCrum has argued that Perry used lawful power of veto in an unlawful manner. Perry’s attorney has said that the only question on appeal “is whether the governor’s veto – or any veto in absence of bribery – can ever be illegal.” If convicted this would place Perry among the ranks of former Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who was also convicted by the state’s public integrity unit; his conviction was overturned years later. Some have speculated that the burden of a criminal appeal would weigh heavily on Perry. According to his attorney, however, the continuing appeals would “have no impact whatsoever” on Perry’s run for president.
A criminal conviction carries dire consequences for those affected. An appeal is the last chance to redeem oneself after a conviction is handed down. For questions regarding how to file an appeal in a criminal case contact the legal professionals at Brownstone Law today.Tags: appeal, free speech, governor rick perry, Michael McCrum, rick perry, rosemary lehmberg, texas appeal
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