Friend, have YOU been arrested for raping a 14 year old girl? Want to avoid trial for as long as possible? Then call the law offices of David Ralston. He’ll abuse his power as Speaker of the House to weasel out of actually defending you.
Former clients rave about Speaker Ralston’s ability to delay and delay and delay court dates. David Shell, who was arrested for assaulting his neighbor, is among one of Ralston’s many highly satisfied clients. Ralston has delayed his case a whopping 10 times. He recently told an AJC reporter that he knew Ralston would use his legislative duties to keep him out of court. “That’s why I gave him 20,000 bucks… he’s worth every penny of it.”
No, this is not satire. This is literally happening in the State of Georgia today. David Ralston, Speaker of the state House of Representatives, uses a law that allows lawyers time off for the legislative session in order to delay the trials of his clients. Currently, the trial of a man accused of raping a 14 year old girl has been postponed for 6 years. In fact, investigators at the AJC found 20 cases that Attorney Ralston has successfully delayed 55 times!
Since the legislature is currently in session, naturally Speaker Ralston is too busy with his duties of blocking conservative legislation from reaching the floor to speak to reporters, but he did issue this statement through a spokesman:
“Legislative leave (OCGA 9-10-150 & OCGA 17-8-26) is a long-established provision of Georgia law which recognizes the unique needs of a citizen-legislature and protects the independence of the legislative branch of state government. Like other members of the General Assembly, I utilize this provision outside of the legislative session, when necessary, to attend to my legislative duties as both a state representative and Speaker of the House. I’m honored to serve the members of the House of Representatives and to be one of 236 citizen-legislators serving our great state. I appreciate that I’m not the only one who must balance the responsibilities of my profession and my elected office.”
Well, as Charles Dickens once said, “The law is an ass.” I can certainly understand the need for this legal provision. After all, the Georgia legislature meets for a whopping 40 days every single year. And then there’s all the fundraising. And speaking to Republican groups. And explaining to them why it’s been just impossible in the past to pass conservative legislation like Constitutional carry or the RFRA bill despite having a supermajority.
I realize that this makes me one of those evil Republicans that, to quote Ralston, spends all of her time tearing down other Republicans. So let me be perfectly clear: I don’t care what damn party you’re in. If you are using your position to delay justice for a 14 year old rape victim, then I don’t support you. I don’t care what kind of legislation you pass.
I think most Georgians would agree with me that if the law allows you to charge $20K to abuse your position as a legislator to keep accused felons out of court, then the law needs to be changed. Someone needs to make sure that a bill proposing this is introduced – Oh, wait……..
So clearly no bill to repeal this insane law will ever make it to the floor, since David Ralston has complete control of that. I guess the only way around him is to remove him from office, or remove him from the Speaker’s chair. If the voters of his district won’t send him packing, his fellow Republicans in the House certainly should. Maybe we should all call our state representatives and ask them why they continue to tolerate this.
In the meantime, victims will continue to experience justice delayed. And justice denied.