BREAKING: Perry indictments tossed by state’s highest criminal court


Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the indictments against former Gov. Rick Perry this morning, Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The decision comes almost two years after he was indicted by a grand jury in the summer of 2014 after he threatened to veto funding for the public corruption unit in the Travis County District Attorney’s office. He stated the Democratic incumbent Rosemary Lehmberg had lost the public’s trust after being arrested for drunk driving. After Lehmberg refused to resign, Perry cut the funding.

A complaint filed by Texans for Public Justice alleged Perry abused his official capacity and accused him of “coercion of a public servant.”

Two of the court’s nine justices dissented in separate opinions, while one justice abstained.

Glenn Smith, of the liberal Progress Texas PAC, slammed the decision.

“The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed out decades of precedent to grant a special privilege to Rick Perry, allowing him to escape a trial before any evidence against him was heard. Legal precedence and common sense make it obvious that argument’s like Perry’s are hollow. He didn’t argue that his indictment was technically flawed. He asked the appeals court to toss out evidence that had never been presented. We have to assume that hundreds of accused criminals will now flood the court with similar arguments. It’s a black day for the law in Texas,” Smith said in a statement.

—  James Russell

Equality Texas slams Perry

Dennis Coleman

As we noted below, it sounds as though Rick Perry is staying in the Republican presidential race, at least until the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. But before Perry could announce his intentions, Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT advocacy group in his home state, issued a statement rejoicing in the governor’s poor showing in Iowa and declaring that Perry “will not be the next president of the United States.” Here’s the full text:

Statement from Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman on Governor Rick Perry’s Performance in the Iowa Caucus

The good news is that Texas Governor Rick Perry will not be the next president of the United States. Governor Perry’s homophobic pandering did not resonate with Iowa voters just as it does not resonate in Texas.

As Governor Perry returns to Texas to reflect on his campaign, it is our hope at Equality Texas that he will also reflect on what Texans really want for their state.

Over 75% of Texas voters support prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation (1), and over 63% of Texas voters support legal recognition for same-gender couples (2).

It is time our Governor recognize that homophobia and transphobia have no place in our great state and he should join in the effort to eradicate them from all public policy.

—  John Wright

Gov. Perry to break anti-gay boycott of CPAC

Gov. Rick Perry

Where is the outrage?

According to multiple reports, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry has accepted an invitation to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, thereby breaking a boycott of the conference by socially conservative groups over the inclusion of the gay group GOProud as a participating organization.

“Happy to announce that Governor Rick Perry is confirmed to speak at CPAC 2011,” the conference announced last week on its Facebook page.

According to the Washington Times, groups boycotting this year’s conference include the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, the Center for Military Readiness, the American Family Association, the American Principles Project, the Liberty Counsel and the National Organization for Marriage:

“The base-line reason is that homosexuality is not a conservative value,” said Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s director of issue analysis. “It’s the conservative PAC, not the libertarian PAC.”

Of course, these same groups and their members have historically been among Perry’s biggest supporters, and he’s been among their strongest anti-gay allies. But now that Perry is considering running for vice president, he’s apparently willing to throw them under the bus in exchange for a high-profile speaking engagement. What’s next, accepting an award from Log Cabin Republicans? Taking a gay lover? Wait, maybe he’s already done that.

Anyhow, we’ve left a message with the governor’s press office to try to find out what in the hell he was thinking, but we haven’t heard back.

Again, we ask, where is the outrage?

—  John Wright

Nutjob candidates in other states make Texas politics seem downright boring this year

New York gubernatorial candidate Kristin Davis

Texas has produced its share of crackpot politicians over the years. But compared to what’s going on across the country, the Lone Star State seems downright boring in 2010.

While Gov. Rick Perry said the Arizona anti-immigration law is not right for Texas, his counterpart in Arizona claimed the law is necessary because of decapitated bodies found in the desert. Jan Brewer, running for re-election as governor of Arizona, has not been able to produce evidence to back up her claim.

Meanwhile, Rand Paul, who’s running for the Senate in Kentucky, said he thinks restaurants should have the right to refuse service based on race. Not that he’d do that if he owned a restaurant, but they should have that right.

Sharron Angle, who’s running for Senate in Nevada, thinks alcohol should be illegal. Last time we looked, Las Vegas was in Nevada.

And after being criticized last week for running an ad showing a map of Mexico with stock photos of Latinos and talking about a stronger immigration law, Angle said she was talking about immigration from Canada and didn’t know if the people in the ad were Mexican. She’s ahead in the polls.

—  David Taffet