Wednesday, November 19, 2008

EDDIE LUCIO JR.’S INDICTMENT MAY BE VALID ON ITS FACE, BUT MAY FAIL ON THE EVIDENCE

(This is my second post today on the issue)

While I agree my headline is confusing, that is the system. A Motion to Quash will address one thing and one thing only - does the indictment state a crime if the facts as alleged are true?

"§ 36.07. ACCEPTANCE OF HONORARIUM. (a) A public servant commits an offense if the public servant solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept an honorarium in consideration for services that the public servant would not have been requested to provide but for the public servant's official position or duties. (b) This section does not prohibit a public servant from accepting transportation and lodging expenses in connection with a conference or similar event in which the public servant renders services, such as addressing an audience or engaging in a seminar, to the extent that those services are more than merely perfunctory, or from accepting meals in connection with such an event. (c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor."

Given the fact this is a misdemeanor case I do not know why an indictment was even necessary.
That aside, based solely on the indictment and nothing else, I do not see how this gets past a full evidentiary hearing. You cannot indict someone for being a consultant. The DA is going to have to produce evidence that Senator Lucio encouraged people to hire him because of his position as a state senator. Even then I am not sure you get to a criminal act. I would hope the DA would have to tie something to Senator Lucio’s official role as a state senator. My question is, how was Senator Lucio able to influence these contracts based on being a state senator. It better take something more than being a state senator or else a lot of people are in a lot of trouble.

Rene Oliveira was hired at the 11th hour as a defense attorney in some high profile personal injury case several years back. He was hired for one reason and one reason only, to stop the trial. Because the Legislature was in session at the time, he was able to use what is known as a Legislative continuance to stop the trial. This is done far too often in Texas.

This would be a black and white case of where a State Representative was hired solely because of his position as a State Representative. In the case of Senator Lucio it is iffy at best. If Oliveira and other State Representatives can be hired on a regular basis as a way to stop a trial, and it is not considered a criminal act, how then can being a consultant without something more be a criminal act when done by a state senator.

I know some of you will be mad for my defense of Senator Lucio, but I call them as I see them. As more evidence comes out, I may change my mind. I still hope the national press corp will look at the Brownsville Navigation District case of the missing $21.4 million.

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