Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sen. Larry Craig: ACLU Files Brief - Sex Okay in MN Public Stalls

''I am not gay. I never have been gay.''
Senator Larry Craig at a news conference, August 27, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union may become Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig's best friend and worst nightmare, if the ACLU brief filed Tuesday with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, in support of the attempt to appeal Craig's August 8 conviction of Disorderly Conduct, is successful.

The appeal, if accepted by the court, shoots down Craig's attempts to deny he was in an airport bathroom stall playing footsies with an undercover cop to signal he was looking for sex. This would also further undercut Craig's denials that he is not homosexual. Charges that have been rampant since it was announced in August that he had been caught in an undercover bathroom sting and subsequently plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct without any advice from counsel.

According to the Associated Press, Craig was arrested on June 11 and originally charged with interference with privacy, which dovetails with the brief the ACLU filed with the court. The ACLU is citing a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling made 38 years ago that found "people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms "have a reasonable expectation of privacy.""

The ACLU argued that the original charge of "interference of privacy" proves Craig's intent was indeed sex when he was arrested June 11. He had a "right to privacy" which included sex and should never have been charged, referring to the 38-year-old decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

"The government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Senator Craig was inviting the undercover officer to engage in anything other than sexual intimacy that would not have called attention to itself in a closed stall in the public restroom," the ACLU wrote in its brief.

Craig plead guilty to Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct on August 8 in Hennepin County Municipal Court, in Bloomington, Minnesota. According to CNN, Craig plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct, paid a $500 fine, and received a sentence of 10 days in jail that was stayed.
Minnesota law defines disorderly conduct as brawling, disturbing a meeting or engaging in "offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous or noisy conduct."

According to Roll Call, the arresting officer alleged that Craig lingered outside a rest room stall where the officer was sitting, then entered the stall next door and blocked the door with his luggage.

According to the arrest report cited by Roll Call, Craig tapped his right foot, which the officer said he recognized "as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."

The report alleges Craig then touched the officer's foot with his foot and the senator "proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times," according to Roll Call.

At that point, the officer said he put his police identification down by the floor so Craig could see it and informed the senator that he was under arrest, before any sexual contact took place.
When the news broke in August of Craig's arrest back in June, Craig denied any inappropriate behavior:
"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," he said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
Craig argued that he plead guilty because he wanted to handle the matter himself, "quickly and expeditiously." The fact of the matter was that Craig was arrested on June 11 and didn't go to court until two months later on August 8, where he plead guilty. Therefore Craig had two whole months to consider obtaining the advise of an attorney and/or changing his plea.
NN) -- Sen. Larry Craig on Thursday said he was not resigning from the Senate despite a Minnesota judge denying his request to withdraw his guilty plea stemming from his arrest in a sex sting at an airport men's room.

"I am extremely disappointed with the ruling issued today," Craig said in a statement. "I am innocent of the charges against me. I continue to work with my legal team to explore my additional legal options."

"I will continue to serve Idaho in the United States Senate, and there are several reasons for that," the Republican said. Source - CNN
In an effort to appeal his guilty plea Craig's own attorneys filed an appeal, Jan. 8:
From Fox News:
An appeals brief filed Tuesday contends that Minnesota's disorderly conduct law "requires that the conduct at issue have a tendency to alarm or anger 'others"' — underscoring the plural nature of the term.

Craig's brief goes on to cite other convictions that were overturned because the multiple-victim test wasn't met. His lawyers apply the same logic to his case.
This was after Minnesota Judge Charles Porter ruled Craig's original guilty plea would stand:
Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter found that Craig had entered the guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge "accurately, voluntarily and intelligently," and that it was too late to withdraw his admission.

In a sharply worded 27-page order, the judge found that Craig had freely given his plea after extensive discussions with prosecutors and after waiving his right to an attorney.

"The defendant, a career politician with a college education, is of at least above-average intelligence," Porter wrote. "He knew what he was saying, reading, and signing.
If the ACLU appeal is successful in getting Craig's guilty plea reversed, it will be a mixed bag of blessings for Craig. Since it relates to the older Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that said people had a right to privacy in public bathrooms "including sex," it may mean Craig's month's long crusade to have his guilty plea overturned will finally be over. But with the addendum, he'll still be stuck in a moral quagmire, that Craig was there for "gay" sex, the charge he continues to deny.

Image - My Own Private Idaho
Image - Senator Swish -
Source - DBKP - Senator Craig Digs Deeper Hole: Files "Multiple Victims" Appeal

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Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.

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