Saturday, August 16, 2014

Prohibited Person: What Happens If Texas Governor Rick Perry Becomes a Convicted Felon

by Nomad

Here's a quick peek into what Governor Perry's life might be like if he is convicted on felony charges.

It's a post title I never thought I'd write, that's for sure.

By now most people have heard the news that Texas governor Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. Of course the most serious result of any conviction would be hard time in prison. A conviction on those charges carries with it a maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.

While the charge and the possible punishments are not something about would dismiss lightly, nobody should be foolish enough to think that a conviction is a sure thing, of course.
This is, after all, Texas.

The possibility that Perry will ever walk down "Broadway" in an orange one-piece and state-issued bo-bos is fairly remote. However, supposing the judicial system can withstand the enormous political pressure that will doubtless be exerted, and Perry is actually convicted of these felonies, he might find life a little less lovely.
Even without any time in the Big House.
There are other legal limits imposed on a convicted felon For example he will no longer be allowed to serve on a federal grand or petit jury jury, according to Texas and federal laws.
Big Whoop, right? But that's the least important restriction. Let's take a look some others.

A Pathetic Start to a Presidential Campaign
Rather surprisingly, the Constitution doesn't actually prohibit felons from holding elected office. He could actually run for president and win despite the conviction. 
But it is not quite as straightforward as that. Apparently there are federal statutes that jail-bird Perry could contend with should he consider a presidential run.

Unluckily for Perry, there are a few state laws on this subject.

According to Texas Law, a convicted felon is prohibited from being a candidate for public office or holding any public office position.
The only loophole is a full pardon or other, formal "judicial release" from felon status,which would restore the felon's eligibility to run for office.
The Attorney General of Texas Republican Greg Abbott  is locked in battle with Wendy Davis for the governor's spot. Abbott would presumably be more than willing to help out a political pal with a pardon.

It's a sad comment on the corruption of Texas politics that Republican governors are loathe to pardon or commute the sentences of other criminals- even if it means saving the life of an innocent man- but would be eager to do so when it comes to one of their own.
So a pardon is probably a given. 

However, that requires Abbott to win. If Wendy Davis should win- and she is not leading at the moment- then Perry could kiss any hope of running for president goodbye.

But I hasten to add, this is Texas with its own sense of justice, anything could happen. Still it is a pathetic way to begin a presidential campaign. With a pardon. (Normally Republican presidents conclude their term in office with a unchallengeable pardons.)
*   *   *   *
Governor Rick Perry as a convicted felon would have another insult thrown in his face. The law in Texas prohibits convicted felons from voting so Perry will not be able to cast a vote in the election.

The Texas Election Code dictates that voting rights to felons who were convicted in Texas are restored once a person "fully discharges the felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court." Before 1997, there was a two-year prohibition on convicted felons.
This provision would render Perry unable to vote for himself. For an egomaniac like Rick Perry, that's got to sting a little.

In addition to felony restrictions in order to be eligible to vote in local, state, or federal elections, a person must meet the minimum qualifications such as being a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a person cannot be mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated.

That last qualification alone could render most of the Texas Republicans out of the running. Looking at Ted Cruz and Louis Gohmert, it's easy to see that qualification is generally overlooked.

Prohibited Person Perry
There is another lasting prohibition that any convicted felon must adapt to.
According to the law in most states- convicted felons are "prohibited persons" when it comes to the right to buy or own firearms. 

In Texas, according to its penal codes. (Code 46.04) a felon's right to bear arms is restored on the fifth anniversary of his release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person's release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is 

This is pretty ironic given Perry's anti-control stand. He said last year that:
“the second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”
If convicted, the tough-talking Perry has every opportunity to test his second amendment theories by purchasing (or not relinquishing) his personal cache of firepower. By ignoring the law, he could serve up to another 10 years in prison. Perry might not be aware of it but the abridgement of the second amendment for felons was brought before the Supreme Court and they collectively nodded in approval.

It will be a black day for Perry if he is forced to auction off his gun collection. Perry's gun collection includes his LaRue OBR 5.56 rifle, .380 Ruger pistol, a Colt 1911 .45 caliber pistol and a 12-gauge Browning Maxus shotgun.

For a proud Texan like rootin' tootin' Rick Perry who seems to have so much riding on what's in the holster, that's like making a prize stallion into docile gelding.