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Why did Tom DeLay waive the statute of limitations?

Upon hearing the news that Sen. Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted, Norm Pattis both asked -- and answered -- why DeLay waived the statute of limitations. Pattis writes:

"You heard it here first: Tom DeLay will plead guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy in Texas. ... So why am I so sure he'll plead? A line in the indictment notes that his lawyer waived the statute of limitations on the conspiracy charge during grand jury proceedings. Why would a competent lawyer waive a complete defense? Because worse was on the way if he did not.

"Initiates know the practice as charge-bargaining. You see a funnel cloud barreling at you and you ask your local prosecutor, quietly, "on what charges are you willing to take my client if he pleads?" I suspect DeLay will enter a plea late in the year."

The Volokh Conspiracy's resident criminal law prof, Orin Kerr, has taken up Pattis' question, but not Pattis' prediction of a guilty plea, writing:

"It seems more likely to me that DeLay knew the indictment was coming one way or another, and he figured that he was better off politically if he could put off the indictment for as long as possible. But this is just speculation on my part, of course. Do any VC readers with experience in criminal law have additional insights to share about this? "

You should really read each of their posts in their entirety. What do you think?

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Posted by Laurel Newby on September 29, 2005 at 02:51 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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