The New York Times reports that Ted Cruz was the solicitor general in Texas when he took the case of Texas v. Michael Wayne Haley to the United States Supreme Court. The Times piece reported, “In 1997, Michael Wayne Haley was arrested after stealing a calculator from Walmart. This was a crime that merited a maximum two-year prison term. But prosecutors incorrectly applied a habitual offender law. Neither the judge nor the defense lawyer caught the error and Haley was sentenced to 16 years”.

Haley rotted in prison for six years before the error was brought to his attention: The application of the habitual offender law (sometimes referred to as the “three strike law”) did not legally apply because one of the two past offenses was too old. Cruz and his cohorts realized that Haley had been sentenced wrongfully, however they urged that his argument must fail because he didn’t raise the issue soon enough. Many states have laws that say that issues raised in post-conviction proceedings must be raised within a certain number of years (frequently two years) or they are barred. Federal applies similar principles. Although, in cases where serious injustices have occurred, the courts usually are somewhat lenient.

The point here is not whether the case should be determined by hyper-technicalities of law, subject to different interpretation. This was a case of fundamental fairness. Everyone agreed that Haley was sentenced illegally. Why did Cruz and others subject him to excruciating worry and delay? This suggests a serious lack of compassion on the part Cruz. It tells much about his character.


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