The PJ Tatler

Bipartisan Lawyers: It's Time to Toss Out the Charges Against Rick Perry

KHOU reports that a bipartisan group of some of the nation’s top lawyers is filing a request today to get the indictment against Texas Gov. Rick Perry tossed out of court.

Perry was indicted in August by a Travis County grand jury under the direction of a special prosecutor on abuse of power charges, because he issued a veto, as the state constitution allows governors to do.

The bipartisan group includes well-known attorneys like Republicans Ted Olsen and Ken Starr — both former U.S. solicitors general — and Democrats such as former state Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez.

The Innocence Project’s Jeff Blackburn has also joined the effort. Blackburn has led the effort to use scientific evidence to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes.

“It doesn’t matter if we’re Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, we all believe in the Constitution, we all believe in freedom of speech, and we all believe that this prosecution is profoundly mistaken and must be stopped — right now,” said James Ho, a former Texas solicitor general who is coordinating the effort with Dallas attorney Prerak Shah and California lawyer Eugene Volokh.

State District Judge Bert Richardson now has to consider whether to give the bipartisan group’s request any weight.

In just about any other jurisdiction in the United States, the charges against Perry would never have gotten to the indictment stage. Travis County’s District Attorney’s office claims a statewide writ over political cases since the 1980s. It has used that power a handful of times to launch clearly political cases against former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former Rep. Tom DeLay and now Gov. Perry.

The case came to indictment just weeks before the mid-term elections, as Gov. Perry departs the office he has held for 14 years and explores a second run for president.