In a letter sent today, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson assigned 9th Court of Appeals Justice David Gaultney to the 3rd Court of Appeals panel that will hear former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s appeal of his 2010 convictions for conspiracy to money launder and money laundering.
Gaultney, a Republican justice on the Beaumont court of appeals since 2001, joins 3rd Court Chief Justice J. Woodfin Jones, a Democrat, and Justice Melissa Goodwin, a Republican, on the panel that will hear the appeal in DeLay v. State.
On Friday, the 3rd Court granted DeLay’s motion to recuse Justice Diane Henson, a Democrat, from the panel.
Asked if he prefers having another Republican on the panel, Houston solo Brian Wice, who represents DeLay in the appeal, says, “This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. This is about a level playing field.”
DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, filed a motion for Henson’s recusal on May 4, arguing that Henson was not impartial because she mentioned DeLay’s appeal during remarks she made as a 3rd Court candidate during the 2006 state Democratic convention.
Holly Taylor, the Travis County assistant district attorney who is representing the state in DeLay, says she has no comment about Gaultney's assignment. "Our main goal here is to get a fair hearing," she says. We're confident in the case we tried and we're confident that we'll get a fair hearing from the court."
-- Mary Alice Robbins