Travis County Criminal District Court Judge Bob PerkinsTom DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, wants Judge Bob Perkins to recuse himself as presiding judge in DeLay's trial. He suggests that the Judge has made extensive contributions to people and causes opposed to the House Majority Leader. DeGuerin notes the list is two pages long.
Not too surprisingly Travis County DA Ronnie Earle sees no problem. He issues the following statement this morning:
"The logic behind the defendant's motion to recuse Judge Perkins would mean that no criminal defendant could be tried in a court presided over by a judge who did not belong to the defendant's political party. It would also mean that a judge who contributes to child abuse prevention could not preside over the trial of an alleged child abuser. We believe that to be neither the law nor good public policy," stated Earle in the release.
Did Earle read what he is saying? Come on. DeLay isn't an occasional primary voter accused of molesting children, he is the Majority Leader of the US House and the crimes of which he stands accused are wholly based on partisan political efforts. It may well be that Judge Perkins can rise above his prejudice but it is hard to imagine that anyone putting themselves in Tom DeLay's shoes would want to find out.
From what I have read the real question is not so much what DeLay did or didn't do as whether those actions were in fact crimes. Some pretty good lawyers I know - most of them Democrats - say Eearle hasn't a prayer. Of course, just because something isn't a crime doesn't mean it was right it just means the punishment should come from the people at the polls.
I do recall a comment made years ago by now Austin super-lobbyist Buddy Jones who had in a previous lifetime served as Hill County District Attorney: "I could get a grand jury to indict you for committing murder in Hill County even if you were in London making a speech to 2000 people at the time of the killing - of course getting a conviction would prove more challenging."