Friday, September 20, 2013

Texas House Republican "Leadership" Tramples Sixth Amendment

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

Sixth Amendment; United States Constitution

A disturbing report from Tuesday's Daily Texan:
Moving forward with its investigation into UT System Regent Wallace Hall, the House Select Committee on Transparency in Stage Agency Operations decided Hall’s attorneys would not be allowed to cross-examine witnesses during the upcoming hearings.


At the meeting, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton and committee co-chairman, said the committee would be investigating whether Hall left off several state and federal lawsuits on his original application for the regent position, disclosed sensitive student information to the public and overstepped his authority as a regent. The committee began investigating Hall in July after he began filing massive open records requests to the University and state legislators accused him of working with his fellow regents to oust President William Powers Jr.


“Today, we heard the committee spend 10 minutes of platitude on transparency and spend two hours in secrecy,” Van Fleet said. “It’s important that the full story come out, not just the limited amount Mr. Hardin may decide is relevant.”

After the meeting, Van Fleet defended his client against the accusations that the committee will investigate, and said Hall’s massive open records requests were not part of a larger plan to get Powers fired.

“[Hall] is not after President Powers,” Van Fleet said. “What he is after is a UT System that is fully transparent [and] that is open to people of Texas. Along the way, if there be legislators, if there be other officers in UT who should have done their job as good as Wallace Hall has been doing his, then the chips will fall as they are.”

Flynn added that the committee would keep its investigation focused on Hall for the time being, though Hall’s attorneys have indicated that they feel the focus should be on documents Hall has obtained from the University.

“We are not investigating the University of Texas at this time,” Flynn said. “However any information that does come out by the committee, it will be disclosed in the spirit of the transparency of this committee.”
 Yet another example of how team Joe Straus and Team Bill Powers protect insiders at the expense of taxpayers and students.

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