Criminal Justice

'Legal Wonk': What Larry Craig Wants, Court Can't Give

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If Sen. Larry Craig is lucky, a Minnesota judge, as expected, will refuse to let him revoke his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge.

That’s because a trial over the charge will only serve to further embarrass the embattled Republican from Idaho, without giving him what he wants—public proof that he’s not a homosexual, writes Ann Woolner, a self-described “legal wonk,” in a Bloomberg column.

In the end, the senator should be found not guilty if he gets a new trial, according to Woolner: “There is simply nothing criminal about toe-tapping, shoe-to-shoe contact or someone putting his hand beneath a bathroom stall divider”—as Craig is alleged to have done this summer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, she writes. But meanwhile, more details of the alleged homosexual behavior that so embarrasses him are likely to come out in court, even though “officially, it is no longer a crime in America to be gay. The U.S. Supreme Court said so ages ago, in 2003.”

As the judge pointed out in a hearing this week, when Craig’s attorney said his client wanted to plead innocent, there is no such plea—only not guilty. Likewise, “there is no way he will be declared innocent, even if he wins a trial and is found not guilty,” she writes.

As discussed in an earlier post, it’s difficult to revoke an adjudicated guilty plea, but a recent Minnesota case makes it easier than it used to be.

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