Grand jurors who indicted Rick Perry break law, violate secrecy of proceedings

The Travis County, Texas grand jury that indicted Governor Rick Perry is self-discrediting. Jurors have violated Texas law by speaking about grand jury proceedings to a newspaper, instead of keeping silent, as they are required by law to do. Bryan Preston of PJ Media reports:

By Texas law, grand jurors are not supposed to talk to the media about their cases.

That did not stop several of the Gov. Perry grand jurors from breaking the law, specifically, talking to the Houston Chronicle.

The jury, which met weekly for four months, “really tried to keep an open mind and come to a fair decision given all the testimony that we heard,” said Janna Bessin, one of the 12 Travis County residents appointed to serve on the grand jury.

“It’s too bad,” Bessin said, calling the criticism unfair. “But I guess that his side’s job – to really spin it.”

In addition to Ms. Bessin, another grand juror named Rho Chalmers spoke on the record to the Houston Chronicle. These two jurors have violated Texas law:

Art. 19.34. [365] [416] [404] OATH OF GRAND JURORS

When the grand jury is completed, the court shall appoint one of the number 
foreman; and the following oath shall be administered by the court, 
or under its direction, to the jurors: “You solemnly swear that you 
will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all 
such matters and things as shall be given you in charge; the 
State’s counsel, your fellows and your own, you shall keep secret, 
unless required to disclose the same in the course of a judicial 
proceeding in which the truth or falsity of evidence given in the 
grand jury room, in a criminal case, shall be under investigation.
You shall present no person from envy, hatred or malice; neither 
shall you leave any person unpresented for love, fear, favor, 
affection or hope of reward; but you shall present things truly as 
they come to your knowledge, according to the best of your 
understanding, so help you God”. (bold added by Bryan Preston)

Chalmers and Bessin are unambiguously in violation of the law, and if they are not prosecuted, it will be another indication that the Travis County prosecutors office cannot be trusted.

There is an excellent chance that Rick Perry will not only beat this scurrilous indictment handed down by law-breakers, he may emerge stronger. Amy Miller of Legal Insurrection makes that case:

If Rick Perry beats the charges, which he should, he emerges a hero and 2012 is ancient history.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was booked today on charges of abuse of power, but before he went in to pose for the greatest mugshot in the history of mugshots, he took the time to speak at a pickup rally organized in support of the Governor and his fight against Texas [D]emocrats. (snip)

Although these charges appear to be nothing more than a political power play, Governor Perry is playing a very smart long game by both hiring an excellent legal team, and welcoming the commentary from pundits on both sides of the aisle—almost all of whom believe that the indictment is nothing more than a transparent political play.

Democrats are losing yards at every turn, and it’s unclear whether or not they will be able to turn public opinion of the case against the state’s longest-serving governor. The law is on Governor Perry’s side, both with regards to his use of the veto power, and his attempted removal of  Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg. Dems are banking on a judge and jury deciding that Governor Perry’s public demand that Lehmberg resign somehow trumps Perry’s plenary veto power as guaranteed in the Texas Constitution.

In the battle of mugshots, Perry clearly has won over Lehmberg.