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the value of the gift. The avalanche of abuse heaped on Ceverha over his service on the ERS boardwhich is an unpaid position and which prevents him from lobbying for certain clientsraises an interesting question: Why stay on the board and put up with the abuse? Ceverha didn’t return two calls from the Observer but he did tell Quorum Report, “I enjoy the service.” JEFFERSON’S JUSTICE? If there was something making people wrinkle their noses at the state Supreme Court hearing on January 24, it might have been the faint scent of political acrimony between an ambitious politician and the biggest muscle on the bench. The politician in question was state he had discovered a surefire way to clinch a seat on the state Court of Criminal Appeals by having his Republican primary opponents disqualified. \(There are But instead, the Supreme Court’s decision destroyed Keel’s unfettered ascent to the court. Now, Keel is forced into a true democratic contest against two qualified Republican judges, each of whom Keel previously tried to lock out of the race for technical mistakes on their filings. In the 5-3 decision, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson ruled against Keel’s maneuver to disqualify his opponents. Jefferson’s vote might not ordinarily provoke much comment, but Keel says the chief justice threatened him last year with political retaliation during a heated telephone call in the midst of a legislative game of chicken. \(Jefferson has denied the threat but not the phone Jefferson by killing a bill for judicial pay raises during the final moments of the last regular legislative session out of pique because senators were holding up a bill that he wanted, which fast-tracked executions. Did Jefferson’s part in the majority opinion amount to making good on his threat? Maybe, but Keel won’t draw that conclusion. “You have to trust that the members of that court are making an honest decision,” Keel said from the high road. But even though Keel won’t implicate Jefferson, he said the chief justice hasn’t forgotten anything, even though the pay raise bill eventually passed in a special session. Keel also criticized the Supreme Court, and argued the decision doesn’t represent “proper Republican judicial philosophy.” In the familiar refrain of those unhappy with a ruling, Keel said justices shattered an old Republican tenet by “legislating from the bench.” Jefferson didn’t call back to give his thoughts, thus keeping with the timehonored tradition of tight-lipped judges. If Jefferson’s court had ruled in Keel’s favor, the retiring rep would have sailed onto the state’s highest criminal court \(assuming he could handle a Libertarian now, incumbent Judge Charles Holcomb and challenger Dallas County Criminal District Court Judge Robert Francis have the court’s blessing to fix the technical mistakes that had threatened to keep them out of the race. Neither candidate will have a particularly arduous task on his hands. Holcomb has already added the needed handful of signatures that were allegedly lacking on his petition to be on the ballot, and Francis has relabeled a dozen pages of his 225-page filing to fix his errors. According to Keel, the revitalized candidacies don’t change anything for him. He’ll stick to his campaign plan. And as far as the status of the relationship between Keel and Jefferson, Keel says it’s “cordial.” AN UNREASONABLE INMATE The Houston fund-raiser for Congressman Tom DeLay on December 5 encountered one minor hitch: Diane Wilson. During Vice-President Dick Cheney’s speech at the $500-a-head gathering, the Gulf Coast shrimper-turned-activist cum author unfurled a banner reading “Corrupt Greed KillsFrom Bhopal to Baghdad.” Authorities arrested Wilson, a co-founder of the peace activist group Code Pink. Though she has yet to stand trial for the DeLay stunt, Wilson is serving a 150-day sentence in the Victoria County jail for a criminal trespassing conviction incurred in 2002 when Wilson chained herself to a tower at the Union Carbide-Dow Chemical facility in Seadrift, Texas. Greg Gladden, Wilson’s lawyer, said that Wilson was upset to hear she wouldn’t be serving the maximum penalty of 180 days, because she would be “that much less of a martyr.” Wilson has become something of a cause clbre in progressive camps \(see the “Free Diane” t-shirts for sale decade-long crusade against Gulf Coast chemical giantswhich culminated in a manhunt for former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson after he fled the site of a massive pesticide leak in Bhopal, Indiahas shown she can’t turn her back on injustices. Now, from her cell in Victoria, Wilson is challenging another Texas monolith: the criminal justice system. In a January 20 letter from jail addressed to Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor, Wilson lays out concerns of fellow inmates such as “humiliating treatment” from guards, and lack of access to medical treatment and legal services. Wilson also calls for a more efficient complaint process. Sheriff O’Connor did not return phone calls seeking comment. It seems that authorities aren’t too fond of the Wilson family down in Victoria. Alice Blackmer, publicist for Wilson’s recently published memoir An Unreasonable Woman [see “Seadrift Nation,” November 4, 2005], says officers arrested Wilson’s daughter during family visiting hours, searched her, and then placed her handcuffed in a holding cell for hours. The offense? An unpaid speeding ticket from 1999. Gladden said that officers routinely check for outstanding warrants during visitation hours. But Blackmer said the speeding ticket had been paid. In any case, after a family member posted $320 bail, she was released and permitted to visit her mother. For her part, Wilson soon will be back on trial facing misdemeanor charges for “possession of fictitious identification” in relation to the DeLay fund-raiser: She used the identification of a friend’s dead Republican aunt to infiltrate the event. FEBRUARY 10, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5