Say What You Will About Norman Hsu...
But the man is nothing if not bold.
Disgraced political donor Norman Hsu wasn't hiding from anyone over the past few years, his lawyers say. If California authorities really wanted to find him, they could have asked Hillary Rodham Clinton or one of the other prominent Democrats he showered with cash donation.
Hsu is asking a judge to toss his 15-year-old felony fraud conviction, arguing that his right to a speedy trial was violated because authorities weren't actively pursuing him.
Yes, Hsu is arguing that his due process rights were trampled because he'd undertaken the life of a fugitive and the state wasn't holding up its end of the bargain by chasing him diligently enough.
I have to agree that the authorities did an inexplicably dismal job in his pursuit, but I'm not sure I buy that this failure somehow disadvantaged Mr. Hsu. Even if he can convince a judge to swallow this Sixth Amendment-wrapped turd of a premise, it seems moot, given that Hsu was duly (and speedily) charged, pleaded out, and convicted of this crime back in 1992. When Hsu cheesed it, he wasn't awaiting trial, but simply the formal sentencing of his agreed upon punishment of three years in prison.
If [Hsu's attorney James] Brosnahan fails get the case dismissed outright, he says he will then ask that Hsu be allowed to withdraw his 1992 plea because the judge who accepted it and was scheduled to sentence Hsu before he fled has since retired. If Hsu succeeds in taking back his plea, his case goes back to square one and could then go to trial.
"Mr. Hsu has the right to have the same judge who accepted his plea impose sentence," Brosnahan wrote in court papers.
Again, didn't Mr. Hsu himself cede that right by fleeing justice for the remainder of that judge's career?
However that plays out, Hsu has plenty of fresh troubles, in the form of multiple federal felony charges alleging his orchestration of Ponzi schemes and violation of federal election laws, and a pair of lawsuits brought by investor groups in California and New York, accusing Hsu of swindling them out of more than $60 million.
Still, I would imagine the prior felony fraud conviction could have an impact on sentencing for any additional convictions, which may be why Hsu is eager to wriggle out of it.
Any prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys feel free to weigh in.
Handcrafted by Flip on October 25, 2007 |
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