Former State Rep. Sue Schmitz was convicted in 2009 on seven counts related her employment with the CITY program and given a 30 month sentence plus restitution and community service.
She has appealed her conviction and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling (231 Kb pdf). In brief:
Because we conclude that the federal-funds counts of the indictment did not sufficiently allege a scheme to defraud, we vacate Schmitz’s convictions on those counts. We affirm Schmitz’s convictions for mail fraud. And, we vacate her sentences and remand for resentencing.
Seems reasonable to conclude we will see her out soon.
For the benefit of those who ponder such things, biographical sketches of Judge Susan Black, Judge Emmett Cox, and Judge Beverly Martin from the Federal Judicial Center.
From Courthouse News Service, the Alabama Education Association and others have filed suit challenging the constitutionality of legislation banning payroll deductions (pdf) of dues used for political purposes. Stated in their filing that the act inhibits their First Amendment right of free speech and association and Fourteenth amendment right of equal protection and due process. Courthouse House has a copy of the filing in pdf format.
So, its now time for the lawyers to show why they went to law school and what effect Ysura vs Pocatello Ed. Assn. has. That case held:
The First Amendment prohibits government from “abridging the freedom of speech”; it does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining funds for expression.
Wit this being in the hands of the Federal Courts, maybe (hope springs eternal) we will see closer attention paid to the budget and other legislation as it moves at break neck speed thru its 30 day calendar.