“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Larry Craig May Return to Washington.

Senator Happy Legs Craig has decided that he, his wife, his constituents, his party and the rest of us may not have had enough. He wants to take another run over the cliff to clear his otherwise good name. Good Grief.

Reversing Craig's Plea Won't Be Easy

By JOSHUA FREED 09.05.07, 5:15 PM Forbes

The politics of being caught in an airport sex sting here are tough enough for Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, but a legal fight against his guilty plea won't be any easier.

The Republican on Wednesday relayed word that he would resign his seat by Sept. 30 only if he fails to withdraw last month's guilty plea to a charge of disorderly conduct.

Legal experts say that it's tough to convince a judge to allow a guilty plea to be withdrawn, and that even if the tactic succeeds, it could backfire if it leads to a trial where the lurid allegations against the senator get a full public airing.

Craig has maintained he is innocent following his arrest by an undercover police officer who said the senator had behaved in an airport men's room like a man soliciting sex. He has said he mistakenly pleaded guilty to simply make the case go away.

He has already been sentenced. He paid $575 in fines and fees, and has a 10-day suspended jail sentence hanging over his head during his one-year unsupervised probation if he commits the same offense again.

He also signed each page of a three-page guilty plea agreement. On page one, just above his signature, are the words "I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of guilty."

Craig had yet to file court papers on Wednesday seeking to challenge the plea in Minnesota.

"I think the odds are long," said Doug Kelley, a Minneapolis defense lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney who was chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger. "I think he's got to show either that he was coerced into the plea, or that he didn't understand his legal rights at the time that he signed the document acknowledging his guilt."

Hoping to keep the matter quiet, Craig - a rancher before he was first elected to Congress nearly three decades ago - did not hire an attorney when he pleaded guilty. He's hired attorneys now, but they weren't commenting on Wednesday about their legal strategy.

A defendant who wants to overturn a guilty plea has to demonstrate a "manifest injustice" under the state's Rules of Criminal Procedure, said Steve Simon, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who has run a clinic for defense lawyers for 30 years. That's a high hurdle, he said.

"Very few motions to withdraw pleas are brought," Simon said. "Of those that are brought, few are granted."

He added, however, that in Craig's case "there are some very serious problems with the validity of that plea" because of the possibility that Craig may not have specifically waived his right to an attorney.

The police officer's Miranda warning to Craig covers only the police interrogation - not the later court process. In his plea agreement Craig waived five specific rights, including the right to a trial, but not his right to an attorney. Hennepin County's standard plea petition includes a waiver of a right to an attorney but that wasn't used in Craig's case, Simon said...
more if you need it


  1. The Senate Ethics Committee has declined Craig's request to forego the ethics investigation. That phone call he made right before his resignation news conference says alot. There he is telling the world and his constituents one thing while having something else altogether different in mind at the same time. I bet that wrong number person got a big chuckle out of the whole deal.

    If he really does end up fighting and retaining his seat until his term ends, maybe I'll still get what I want--a wide open republican primary. I can't believe he would try to run again. I don't think even Larry Craig is that whacked. But you never know.

    Circus time!

  2. Here's an interview with Mike Rogers, the blogger that outed Craig, on the Sean Hannity Show.

    Says there's a lot of folk still leading double lives still in the closet there, in D.C. Well spoken fellow, at any rate.

    I remember when my uncle, a distinguished old fellow, professor, told the story of being propositioned in New York City.

    Guy in restroom says, "Could be?"
    Uncle Jerry says, "Could be, but it isn't." This brought howls of laughter from us kids at the time.

  3. The Pubs will eliminate him if he stretches this out too much.
    Maybe an unfortunate accident over the Rockies.
    A Faggot Flight Test,
    of sorts.

  4. A boating mishap in the Snake River--happens all the time:)

  5. Meanwhile the Clintons are alleged to have been Active

    There's just too much stuff to keep up with. Nite.

  6. If you even accept that these things are "debates."

  7. Rudy Guiliani looked like the most serious candidate and could be the Republicans best chance to regain the White House. None of the other candidates appear to have the same gravitas as Guiliani. That's not to same they didn't have good answers but Guiliani is smooth.

    The most interesting candidate in the bunch though is Ron Paul. Is he a Goldwater paleocon or a Ralph Nader libertarian?

  8. Whit, I second you on Guiliani. The Republican demolition derby continues and a no nonsense guy like Guiliani appears to be their last best chance.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. It's Rudy or entertainemt.

    He would force the Democrats to compete in the Northeast, NJ, PA, even NY. None of the other hopefuls could.

    Not sure about CA, but shoulder to shoulder with Arnold, the Dem would have to spend resources there, as well.

    Mr Thompson looked awfully old at one of the State Fairs I saw him trampsing about at. Mr Romney, a cultist that would be crucified, metaphoricly speaking, and that's about the extent of the field.
    Mr McCain does not even poll well here in AZ.

  11. Doug:
    That's a nice link to the Walter Cronkite "World Federalists Convention". I am trying to get the video posted at the EB. No luck so far.

  12. Speaking of McCain. It seemed as if the other candidates were honoring the "old man" with compliments meant to acknowledge his "lifetime acheivement" which in Hollywood is done for those who had long distinguished careers but never quite won the whole enchilada.

  13. James E. McGreevey - A Prayer for Larry Craig -
    My gut wrenched when I read of Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom arrest. I remembered my own late-night encounter with the law at a Garden State Parkway rest stop ...

  14. They were picking up on that kid's question about him coming down with alzheimers and the like:
    You know when they know someone is going to kick the bucket they rush out the lifetime acheivement award quick-like to beat him to the punch.
    (cause after he kicks the bucket, well, where's the punch, right?)

  15. Did you see my post yesterday 'Rat,
    Giuliani had attended 800 Memorials before Hillary attended her first?

    ...Miller credits O'Reilly with coming up with that interesting factoid about authentic New York Pols, and authentic power-hungry carpetbitches.

  16. I kinda like Carpetbitches if I do say so myself!
    back to the future as my 9 yr old self.