The DeLay indictment

“Ronnie Earle, out-of-control partisan Democratic prosecutor” is about as credible as “John Kerry, coward.” That won’t keep it from being said and believed, but it’s obviously not the case. You can bet the rent money he has the goods on DeLay.

Since Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle indicted a key member of the Kleptocracy, of course he’s being slimed. Goes with the territory.

Three things to note, though:

1. Of the politicians Earle indicted before the current case, 12 have been Democrats and 3 have been Republicans.

2. Earle’s professional reputation among his fellow prosecutors is impeccable.

3. He doesn’t lose many cases. Kevin Drum is right to say that Earle is going to need a cooperating witness to convict DeLay. Earle knows that. And he knows that indicting someone you don’t have the goods on is unethical. So I’d put serious money on the proposition that Earle has found his witness. Probably sometime in the last week, someone cracked.

Update: The NYT looks at the political fallout.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com