Price Rally Lesson: Time for Plan B

Real loser: So, pretend you're a jury pool consultant. Pretend ace white-collar criminal lawyer Billy Ravkind hired you to advise him on the mood and mindset of potential jurors in the eventual and inevitable federal corruption trial of his client, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, currently the target of a metastasizing FBI investigation.

Now, ponder the outcome of last Saturday's "nationwide" day-long rally in support of the embattled commissioner. In an entire day, between 20 and 30 people showed up from the nation to express their support for Price. (Current U.S. population: more than 312 million.)

The crowd at Price's rally would have been disappointing for a retirement party. He was hoping for Tahrir Square.

Some people blamed the heat, but just three miles west, hundreds of morbidly obese people were queuing up to stand for as long as eight hours in triple-digit temperatures outside Gilley's on South Lamar Street to audition for NBC's The Biggest Loser. They were literally risking their lives.

At Price's rally, an aging relic of the civil rights movement named Mukasa Dada provided the weekend's most Dadaesque moment by speaking in praise of Moammar Gadhafi barely 24 hours before the Libyan freedom movement swept into Green Square in Tripoli. (Hey, Dada: History's calling, asking what's holding you up.)

So let's go back to your imaginary status as the jury consultant reading all of these tea leaves and trying to distill out of them some solid advice. What do you tell Ravkind when give him your report on Saturday's nationwide rally?

It's pretty obvious what you tell Ravkind: "Billy, you need to get on the phone to the feds right now. You need to tell them you're ready to do a deal."

Former Dallas city councilman Don Hill wouldn't do a deal, because he didn't think he was guilty, and he said he was putting the case in the hands of the Lord. He got 18 years.

A jury consultant looking at public support for Price right now would be yelling at Ravkind: "Do not, I repeat do NOT put this in the hands of the Lord. Put this one in the hands of the feds. Beg for mercy and ask if there is anybody at all they would like your client to roll on."

But you know what? You really wouldn't have to tell Ravkind that kind of stuff. He'd know it already. The person to tell it to is Price. In fact, Price ought to be the one on the phone to Ravkind.

"Hey, Billy. John. Plan B."

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze