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August 29, 2007

Open Letter to Senator Craig #2

OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR CRAIG, PART 2

 

Dear Senator Craig:

 

By now you are experiencing the first wave of cascade effect that will not stop until you have left office. 

 

Here’s the deal: If you are innocent, you need forthwith to attempt to set aside your guilty plea and demand a trial.  If you are not innocent, you should resign immediately.

 

The Unfortunate Caveat: your Senate duties will not be compatible with the trial, so you will need to resign in any event.

 

However you choose to repair the tattered remains of your reputation and heal your family, you need to stanch the flow of publicity ASAP. 

parody

This doctored photo was sent to by one of your Idaho constituents.  The snickering will not stop anytime soon.

 

And once people start laughing at you, it’s over.  So, as I see it from here in California – or from my other home in Idaho – you have just two choices:

 

1. Resign and seek to fight the case, however belatedly.

2. Resign and get on with your life out of the glare of publicity.

 

You can be sure that Governor Otter will quickly find a qualified replacement, someone who is not likely to embarrass the State of Idaho and the Republican party.

 

I am truly sorry to be the bearer of such bad news.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jay B. Gaskill

 

BA University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

JD University of California Law School, Berkeley, CA

 

 

August 28, 2007

An Open Letter to Senator Craig

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

 

An Open Letter to Senator Craig

 

Senator Larry Craig
Local U.S. Senate Office
Boise, Idaho

 

Dear Senator Craig:

 

I’m sure you are being inundated with advice right now.  But you need to know how your airport bathroom incident looks to the experts, because that is the best leading indicator of public opinion.

 

When you were arrested by an undercover police officer for sexual misconduct in a Minneapolis Airport restroom in June of this year and given until August to get the advice of counsel, no one – and I mean no one – will now believe that you let two months slip by without talking to a lawyer. 

 

Is it really true, as you claimed yesterday, that you pleaded guilty to ‘disorderly conduct”, a misdemeanor not registerable as a sexual offense in Minnesota, without benefit of counsel? 

 

Yes? Then – if you were innocent – your very next step is to immediately return to the court -- armed with the very best attorneys money can buy -- get your plea set aside and set the matter for a full trial.

 

I won’t make matters worse by using this space to repeat the description of your conduct as it was described in the police report.  Let’s just say that it was an account of suspicious behavior, sexually ambiguous, but arguably innocent, provided you had stepped forward to defend yourself. 

 

As a public defender, I’ve handled or reviewed more of these cases than I can count.  Given that there was no actual sexual contact and no prior criminal record, it was a perfectly reasonable disposition of your case – from the perspective of the prosecutor and court – to allow a plea to a non-registerable misdemeanor. And it was a perfectly reasonable step for a guilty person to “take the deal and run”.   But, in my multi-decades experience, a well healed defendant who was innocent of these charges would have fought them tooth and nail. 

 

And, if you are in fact innocent, Senator, you would have had little difficulty in persuading a jury of that.  The trial would have been inconvenient and embarrassing, but let’s get real here: Winning the case was your only career-friendly option.

 

Put simply: This was a case that any reasonably articulate innocent defendant with reasonably articulate counsel could have beat at trial, hands down (so to speak).

 

Sorry, Senator, but that’s just how it looks to the experts.  

 

I’m sorry this advice is so late.  It reminds me of the story of the client who – having jumped from a 40 story building – sailed past his lawyer’s open window on the way down.  “What do I do now!” he shouted. 

 

The lawyers reply? “You shouldn’t have jumped!”

 

JBG

 

 

August 27, 2007

Why Did Mr. Bush Abandon Gonzales?

The print version of this piece is at http://jaygaskill.com/GonzalesExit.htm .

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

 

Bush ally Gonzales resigns post
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, embroiled in a row over sacked prosecutors, has resigned.  BBC

 

Mr. Gonzales Exits Stage Right
By
Jay B. Gaskill

 

The son of a construction worker in Texas, one of a family of eight, a second generation Mexican who was awarded his JD at Harvard in 1982, has resigned under pressure from Congress.

 

“Even my worst days as Attorney General have been better that my father’s best days. Public service is honorable, and noble, and I am profoundly grateful to President Bush for his friendship and for the many opportunities he has given me to serve the American people.”

 

Alberto Gonzales was an effective lawyer who enraged liberals because he was far too conservative for a minority person, provoking the same ‘We’ve got to get him!” rage that almost brought down Justice Clarence Thomas.

 

Reasonable minds can disagree about Mr. Gonzales’ positions on the domestic wiretapping issue, the refusal to extend habeas corpus to suspected terrorists who are not US citizens and the other civil liberties controversies that the terror-jihad have generated. But his positions were neither so unpopular with the public at large, nor so completely out of the range of reasonable opinion as to be dismissed out of hand  At least one professor at my former alma mater (Boalt Hall, U. C. Berkeley’s law school) is in general agreement with most of Mr. Gonzales’s positions on national security jurisprudence.

 

But Mr. Gonzales was a target waiting for a “clean shot” from the moment he was sworn in. 

 

Under the guidance of a still unnamed Administration political operative, the Justice Department managed to move the bull’s eye directly at the Attorney General. 

 

When the Administration summarily fired (or forced resignations) of several Assistant U.S. attorneys, that action was nominally within the scope of presidential prerogatives. After all, the U.S.A. appointees serve “at will”.  But it was accomplished with the maladroit clumsiness and political tone deafness of a novice school principal who suddenly decides to terminate six popular teachers, but cloaks the action in a vague fog ball press release, huffing and puffing about her authority.

 

It was a perfect opportunity for a fatal shot, and the president’s enemies just couldn’t take a pass.

 

“When questions arose over the dismissal of eight United States attorneys, Mr. Gonzales dismissed the controversy as ‘an overblown personnel matter,’ insisting that the prosecutors had been removed strictly on the basis of their performance. But after e-mail messages were released showing that his chief of staff had worked closely with the White House in developing the list of attorneys to be fired, Mr. Gonzales admitted that ‘mistakes were made,’ although he insisted that he had played no direct role in the decision.” - New York Times, March 15, 2007

 

“Gonzales said he would find out why Congress was not told sooner that the White House was involved in discussions of who would be fired and when.”  … “Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, told lawmakers under oath that the decision to fire the U.S. attorneys was made solely by the department and was based on performance, not politics.’ New York Post, March 14, 2007:

 

It didn’t help – sorry Mr. Gonzales – that the Attorney General’s personal deportment and on-stage presence was less than commanding.  The invitation to act the bully was far too tempting to Congressional Democrats who have lost credibility with their base by failing to check this president in any meaningful way.

 

Mr. Bush has been more loyal to his people than any president in memory, but he has undoubtedly given ground on the Attorney General in a hoped for exchange for support when General Petraeus’s report on the surge is received next month. When the question of supplemental war funding once again must be taken up the congress, he will have most of the Blue Dog democrats (essentially “red state” compatible) on his side in the House (see the list below), but he’ll need about five key votes in the Senate. 

 

Has Mr. Bush miscalculated?  I don’t think so, but….

 

Stay tuned.

 

BLUE DOGS IN THE CONGRESS ARE SAID TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

 

[ ] Mike Arcuri (New York)
[ ] Joe Baca (California)
[ ] John Barrow (Georgia)
[ ] Melissa Bean (Illinois)
[ ] Marion Berry (Arkansas)
[ ] Sanford Bishop (Georgia)
[ ] Dan Boren (Oklahoma)
[ ] Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
[ ] Allen Boyd (Florida), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration
[ ] Dennis Cardoza (California)
[ ] Christopher Carney (Pennsylvania)
[ ] Ben Chandler (Kentucky)
[ ] Jim Cooper (Tennessee)
[ ] Jim Costa (California)
[ ] Bud Cramer (Alabama)
[ ] Lincoln Davis (Tennessee)
[ ] Joe Donnelly (Indiana)
[ ] Brad Ellsworth (Indiana)
[ ] Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona)
[ ] Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
[ ] Bart Gordon (Tennessee)
[ ] Jane Harman (California)
[ ] Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota), Blue Dog Whip
[ ] Baron Hill (Indiana)
[ ] Tim Holden (Pennsylvania)
[ ] Steve Israel (New York)
[ ] Nick Lampson (Texas)
[ ] Tim Mahoney (Florida)
[ ] Jim Marshall (Georgia)
[ ] Jim Matheson (Utah)
[ ] Mike McIntyre (North Carolina)
[ ] Charlie Melancon (Louisiana)
[ ] Mike Michaud (Maine)
[ ] Dennis Moore (Kansas), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy
[ ] Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania)
[ ] Collin Peterson (Minnesota)
[ ] Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
[ ] Mike Ross (Arkansas), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications
[ ] John Salazar (Colorado)
[ ] Loretta Sanchez (California)
[ ] Adam Schiff (California)
[ ] David Scott (Georgia)
[ ] Heath Shuler (North Carolina)
[ ] Zack Space (Ohio)
[ ] John Tanner (Tennessee)
[ ] Gene Taylor (Mississippi)
[ ] Mike Thompson (California)
[ ] Charlie Wilson (Ohio)

 

 
 

August 03, 2007

THE MAYOR, MR. JEW AND THE CITY STATE BY THE BAY

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

THE MAYOR, MR. JEW AND THE CITY STATE BY THE BAY

Printable version at http://jaygaskill.com/Romanpost.htm 

San Francisco politics is like ancient Roman politics without the blood.

 

San Francisco occupies the tip of a peninsula the west side of which faces the open Pacific Ocean; the northern tip faces the straits of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge; while the east side faces the Bay.  Without a doubt it is America’s most beautiful city, and like some of the misbehaving young starlets who have graced the news this year, its narcissism infects its higher nerve centers – City Hall.

citystate

The tall buildings of San Francisco’s financial district cluster like a small corner of Manhattan.  Yet this is a city of less than.8 m people (a smaller population, for example, than San Jose to the South or San Diego to the far South). Its political leaders cherish the illusion that they inhabit an ancient city-state that owes only nominal allegiance to the governments of California and the USA. This is political narcissism.

 

There are unspoken rules in this town.  Political leaders are absolutely required to follow just two of them. When they do, all else is forgiven. When they don’t, there is hell to pay: (1) Be loyal to the City State and (2) Stay glamorous.

 

Ed Jew, a Chinese American member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a flower shop owner, is paying hell right now.  No, he has not – like the current mayor -- cuckolded his best friend, gone on a drinking binge, or flouted state law by the grandiose gesture of conducting a mass marriage ceremony on the steps of city for gay couples (thus decisively contributing to John Kerry’s defeat in the 2004 election).  No, Mr. Jew’s offense was against the city-state itself.  He apparently lives in Burlingame (Silicon Valley) while just pretending to live in his San Francisco Sunset District home.

 

Oy vey.

 

On August 1, Mr. Jew was held to answer for felony perjury because:

 

“…. Mr. Jew allegedly filed and signed with the City and County in connection with his candidacy for the office of Supervisor in 2006, including:
·         Declaration of Intent to Solicit Campaign Contributions on February 28, 2006
·         Nomination Paper filed on August 11, 2006
·         Declaration of Candidacy filed on August 11, 2006
“Also, he has been charged with perjury in connection with using the 2450 28th Avenue address to register to vote in March 2003 and in connection with a DMV application in February 2006.  
In addition, the District Attorney’s office has charged Mr. Jew with voter fraud, as he allegedly voted in the November 2006 election using the same false address at 2450 28th Avenue.

 “This case goes to the heart of the integrity of the electoral process in our city,” said District Attorney Kamala D. Harris."

[From the DA's press release]

 

Even if Mr. Jew beats the felony rap, the City Attorney seeks his exile:

 

“In seeking Supervisor Jew's removal from office, I am acting to remedy a crisis in governmental legitimacy that is unprecedented in San Francisco's modern history," said [City Attorney] Herrera. "This is clearly not an action I undertake lightly. But neither can I shrink from the serious duty I owe to the citizens of San Francisco with the integrity of their representative democracy hanging in the balance. The evidence from my office's investigation is overwhelming and clear: Mr. Jew violated the residency requirements of the City Charter and state law.”

 

Truth be told, the mere act of violating one’s oath is not that important for San Francisco officials, as long as one remains loyal to the City State herself.

 

Ms. Harris, an able mid-level prosecutor from Alameda County ran for and won the top DA position in San Francisco on a general “get tougher and smarter” on crime campaign.  She amply qualifies for membership in the City’s Glamour Club.  Harris, an African American woman, is drop dead beautiful.

 

She is also implacably opposed to the death penalty (an issue that somehow was never prominent in her first campaign).  Not to put too fine a point on it, the death penalty is well established California law, having been affirmed by the State’s High Court, and every judge in the state is required to faithfully and impartially administer it.

 

 The oath of office taken by San Francisco District Attorney, Kamela Harris, is essentially indistinguishable from that taken by every California Judge.  Those California attorneys aspiring to be appointed to the office of Judge of the Superior Court who conscientiously refuse to impose the death penalty under any circumstances are not selected because they cannot serve. Those California judges, once in office, who similarly refuse, are subject to recusal -- even removal from office. 

 

The oath of office requires each judge and prosecutor to faithfully follow the law of the land.  In this state (with the overwhelming support of the voters) the law favors the death penalty for the crime of the first degree murder of a police officer acting in the line of duty.

 

Here is the oath (or very close to it) that Ms. Harris took.

all public officers and employees, executive, legislative, and judicial, except such inferior officers and employees as may be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:

"I, Kamela Harris, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.

"And I do further swear that I do not advocate, nor am I a member of any party or organization, political or other- wise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not been a member of any party or organization, political or other-wise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means and that during such time as I hold the office of District Attorney I will not advocate nor become  a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means."

And no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any public office or employment.

"Public officer and employee" includes every officer and employee of the State, including the University of California, every county, city, city and county, district, and authority, including any department, division, bureau, board, commission, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing.’

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_20

I cast my vote across the Bay, not in San Francisco, but I would have voted for Ms. Harris over her opponent in the last election because I knew her reputation as a competent, professional prosecutor when she was an Alameda County DA.  That said, Ms. Harris was not in the DA’s office long enough to have tried a death penalty case.  When I learned her stance on the death penalty, I was surprised Ms. Harris felt she could take the oath of office in good faith. 

 

My friend, the late Judge Richard Iglehart, former Alameda Chief Assistant DA (who also served as the Chief Assistant San Francisco DA), opposed the death penalty on practical grounds.  Richard felt its administration consumed too many scarce resources.  But Richard Iglehart had no difficulty enforcing the law, neither as a judge nor as a DA, because his practical objections to the death penalty would never prevent him from doing justice in any individual case.  He took the oath of office in good faith and lived it.

 

This is not the place to debate the morality of the death penalty, especially since, within the City Sate of San Francisco, a large plurality of its citizens probably applaud Ms. Harris’s stance, much as they applauded Mayor Newsome’s gay marriage demonstration and excuse his confessed romantic betrayals. Glamour and allegiance to the City State tend to trump a sea of troubles.

 

Mr. Jew is being prosecuted for non-residence because of disloyalty, not to the State of California (seen in San Francisco as a co-equal sovereign), but to the City State herself.  He was also fair game because he was never welcomed as a member of the Glamour Club.

 

Oh.  I am constrained to mention one other peccadillo.  The FBI is annoyed with Mr. Jew because he apparently mishandled $40,000 collected from business interests.  That matter is still pending.  But mayor Newsome’s comments are revealing.  As reported by Cecilia M. Vega, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer on July 20:

 

While there are local, state and federal laws governing campaign contributions for elected officials, San Francisco does not have any law that forbids officials from accepting large sums of cash.

“It is wrong to accept cash. To me, there is no defense,” said Newsom, who is running for re-election in November. “This is not appropriate. You don't take cash. Period. He's acknowledged taking cash. Does that mean he's broken the law? That's a different question.”

 

Members of the Glamour Club are less clumsy.  No cash indeed; not in the City State by the Bay…

 

JBG

 

 

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