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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Appeals Court Upholds Senator Craig's Guilty Plea

ArtcraigThe Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's effort to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-sting operation.

"Because we see no abuse of discretion in the denial and conclude that the statute is not overbroad, we affirm" a lower court's decision, the three-judge panel wrote in a 10-page ruling.

In a written statement, Craig said he was "extremely disappointed" by the action and was considering an appeal.

"I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport," Craig said.

The Idaho Republican was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June 2007 after an undercover police officer accused him of soliciting sex by using hand signals and tapping his foot in a bathroom stall. Two months after his arrest, and without consulting a lawyer, Craig pleaded guilty to the charge without appearing in court.

After the incident became public, he attempted to withdraw his plea, contending that his "wide stance" had been misinterpreted by the arresting officer and that he had pleaded guilty simply to get the matter over with.

In an effort to persuade the panel to throw out Craig's guilty plea, his attorney argued that Craig's foot tapping was protected by his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

But the judges were unpersuaded.

Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2008/12/appeals-court-u.html

Criminal Law, Political News | Permalink

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