Friday, January 22, 2010

No new tricks up Michael Emack's sleave, he goes No Contest

Michael Emack pled "nolo contendere" but preserved his right to appeal, answering a question on my mind:
The San Angelo Standard-Times - Judge Barbara Walther of the 51st District Court asked (Michael) Emack if he understood what the plea allowed him to do.

'I believe it helps me maintain my dignity,' Emack said.

He also said he understood that it allowed him to appeal. The court recognized that Emack reserves the right to appeal only in certain cases.

One case regards the lawfulness of search warrants that law enforcement personnel used to raid the Yearning for Zion Ranch outside Eldorado in April 2008 on the basis of what later turned out to be a hoax call of a girl claiming she was abused inside the community."
I had wondered about this. If you plead "no contest" can you re-open the case if the evidence is disallowed later and the answer is "yes." Depending on how long those appeals take, Michael may be out about the same time they get processed through our legal system. It apparently took making a special stipulation to reserve that right for Mr. Emack who will get seven years.

He also gives up his "right to remain silent" among others which I don't know exactly how to take. The waiver stipulation worries me:
"(Judge Barbara) Walther had Emack agree to a 'waiver of stipulation of the evidence,' saying that the evidence was accurate and could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
I honestly don't know. Does this now constitute a form of testimony that can be used in other cases? Namely, that the evidence is "accurate?" Judge Walther is not a great jurist, but she is not a stupid woman either, and I'm sure the prosecution had influence on what it would accept from Mr. Emack. Greater legal minds than mine (there are quite a few) will chime in on this development and reveal what it means to it's fullest extent.

As always, it happens late on a Friday. For now it seems though, that Michael avoids the meat grinder trial, the publicity and the "perp walk." If the appeal goes badly, he won't spend too much more time behind bars than he would if it's successful.

This also means that in general, procedural issues with regard to appeal have been covered by the first two trials. There was no "grand stand" left to make at this trial, that wasn't made in the first two.

There is this fascinating tidbit as well:
"Emack has a pending bigamy case against him, and he said he intends to plead no contest to that as well for seven years to be served concurrently with his sexual assault sentence.

(Michael's) defense lawyer, Abilene attorney Randy Wilson, will reserve the right to appeal that bigamy case, stating that Emack intends to be a part of a joint motion of FLDS members that will challenge the constitutionality of Texas’ bigamy statutes."
Interesting. Plead out so that you can challenge the constitutionality of a bigamy law. My work may be done soon.

The constitutionality angle will burn the candle at one end, the evidence challenge at the other. Eventually, if the evidence challenge fails, but the constitutional angle does not, it will be argued that Texas married young women right up to the point of the raid, that were of similar and younger age than the informal brides of the FLDS. I suppose the argument would then be, "I wasn't asking to do anything wrong, I was just forbidden to do what was my right by the state of Texas." Texas can hardly argue it doesn't want young girls having sex, when it's marrying them off. All they can say is they don't want young girls having sex with older men who have another wife, and that will be an unconstitutional restriction.

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