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The Perry indictment and the criminalization of politics

UC Irvine’s Rick Hasen writes at Electionlawblog:

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted for coercion and abuse of power in a potentially politically motivated prosecution for actions Perry possibly took out of political motivation to shut down possible politically motivated prosecutions. Got that? . . .

Perry joins the list of other politicians prosecuted under controversial or dubious theories, including Tom DeLay, John Edwards, Scott Walker, Don Siegelman, and Ted Stevens. Some go to jail; some don’t. Some get convicted by juries; some don’t.  Some have their prosecutions overturned on appeal; some don’t.

What the common thread here is the criminalization of politics.

Eugene has already raised some legal questions about the indictment, as have various pundits one would never expect to find in Perry’s corner.  Jonathan Chait, for example, calls the indictment “unbelievably ridiculous.”

Olivia Nunzi has more on the case, and here’s a preview of the indictment I posted in May.

UPDATE: Patterico (who works as a prosecutor when he’s not blogging) offers his own (lengthy) legal analysis.

FURTHER UPDATE: See also this additional post by Eugene.

Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.



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