Ken Her­man: Good for Dawnna Dukes — if she’s in­no­cent as she claims,

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Her­man

Rep. Dawnna Dukes showed up late for work Tues­day in the Texas House. Bet­ter late than never when it comes to rep­re­sent­ing the folks who elected you.

A day ear­lier, the Austin Demo­crat was ex­cused for what was an­nounced in the cham­ber as “im­por­tant busi­ness in the district.” Yes, free­dom is im­por­tant busi­ness. And Dukes’ free­dom is in jeop­ardy.

Dukes has been in­dicted on 15 counts al­leg­ing abuse of of­fice. Tues­day at 5 p.m. was the dead­line for her to de­cide on what seemed like a too-gen­er­ous of­fer from prose­cu­tors: Re­sign and charges would be dropped. The dead­line passed and the of­fer ex­pired, meaning Dukes is headed for an Oc­to­ber trial.

Good for Dukes, if she’s not guilty as she claims, for not tak­ing the stay-out-of-jail-al­most-free card of­fered by Travis County District At­tor­ney Mar­garet Moore. Good, but po­ten­tially dumb. Given the sit­u­a­tion, it seemed like an of­fer too good to refuse. Per­haps, it was one too good to make.

I say good for Dukes be­cause I be­lieve peo­ple who think they’re not guilty should go to trial and make prose­cu­tors prove they are guilty. Dukes faces up to 28 years be­hind bars if found guilty.

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