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January 10, 2011

Tom DeLay gets three-year prison sentence for state conspiracy and money laundering convictions

As detailed in this local report, "[f]ormer U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay today was sentenced to three years in prison for his conviction on a charge of conspiracy to commit political money laundering. He also was sentenced to five years in prison on a money laundering conviction, but the judge probated that to 10 years of community supervision."  Here is more:

DeLay was taken into custody by Travis County deputies, but will be released on $10,000 bail pending appeal.

DeLay pleaded for himself before visiting District Judge Pat Priest. "I don't feel remorseful for something I don't think I did," DeLay told the judge.

Prosecutors urged Priest to sentence DeLay to prison immediately.  But defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin said the case destroyed DeLay's political career and life and that was punishment enough. DeGuerin promised to appeal DeLay's conviction.

DeLay was convicted of conspiracy and money laundering last November for his participation in a scheme to circumvent Texas elections laws banning the use of corporate money in candidate campaigns.

I know precious little about Texas sentencing law, policy and procedure, but this sure seems like a relatively stiff sentence under all the circumstances. Perhaps readers have some insights as to whether this notable sentencing decisions "feels right" and also about whether DeLay might have been better off seeking a jury sentencing proceeding (as I believe Texas law permits) rather than leaving this sentencing to the state judge.

January 10, 2011 at 05:02 PM | Permalink

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Comments

hoisted on his own petard. sic semper right wing nuts

Posted by: anon 12 | Jan 10, 2011 6:39:38 PM

I'm told by Bill Habern, one of Texas' top parole attorneys, that "He will be eligible for parole in 4 mos 8 days."

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 10, 2011 8:13:35 PM

He will only serve about 1/4 to 1/3 of it if he serves the amount most Texas prisoners serve.

Posted by: James | Jan 10, 2011 9:45:17 PM

This sounds like a fair punishment. Why should he be treated different then any other American citizen?!?

Posted by: Garry | Jan 11, 2011 4:27:50 AM

Even Tom DeLay, easily one of the more detestable political thugs in recent memory, doesn't deserve this.

Vague, sweeping charges such as conspiracy and money laundering are what governments typically resort to when they can't make legitimate cases against citizens they've marked as targets. The only mainstay Texas omitted from the usual trifecta of bogus crimes was obstruction.

But then DeLay, a tough-on-crime legislator if ever there was one, certainly had a hand in empowering prosecutors to bring down big game at will on the flimsiest of evidence. So, yes, his head is now mounted on a trophy wall he helped build.

Posted by: John K | Jan 11, 2011 8:47:18 AM

Biased, partisan prosecutor, seeking to destroy the political career of an enemy of the Democratic Party. Made up charges on bogus, invalid, lawless rules. The partisan prosecutor, the judge, and the biased, crazy jury should all be liable for all costs, and exemplary damages in torts. End all self-dealt immunities. They are bad for the legal system, and fully justify public self-help (if torts are a substitute for violence, then immunity justifies violence, being the obverse). If this case stands, a Republican prosecutor will be emboldened to do the same to a successful Democratic politician.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 12, 2011 7:49:25 AM

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