DALLAS (NNPA) Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill's federal indictment case, set for trial on June 22, is one that has been included in a study by two professors suggesting that he possibly could have been racially and politically profiled.
He and his wife Sheila have maintained their innocence, according to a released statement.
"Mr. Hill has entered a 'not guilty' plea and looks forward to defending himself against these charges," said Ray Jackson, managing partner of Jackson Law Firm, who is defending Don Hill.
"[Ms. Hill] has pled 'not guilty' and is prepared for trial," said Victor Vital, a trial partner at Baker Botts L.L.P., who is defending Mrs. Hill.
"We are so honored to have Ray and Victor representing us," said Hill. "We could not have found two better people to put our trust and fate with."
Hill, a former Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem, had his City Hall office and his home raided by FBI agents in June 2005. He and Sheila were formerly indicted in October 2007 on charges of bribery and extortion, involving alleged dealings with the Southwest Housing Development affordable housing company.
The study, "The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials: When Rhetorical Vision Participation Runs Amok," was completed by Professors Donald Shields and John Cragan of the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Illinois State University, respectively, in 2007 and cited that a high disproportionate number of Democratic elected officials were subjected to federal investigations during much of the George Bush administration.
"Data indicate that the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven (7) times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops," Shields and Cragan said in their study.
The two authors of the study found that, of the 375 cases they identified between January 2001 and December 2006, 298, or 80 percent, involved Democrats, 67 involved Republicans and 10 Independents. The study further stated of a 1 in 10,000 chance that the overrepresentation of Democrats were just chance.
"The current Bush Republican Administration appears to be the first to have engaged in political profiling. Our paper calls for new federal laws that would create a national registry of federal investigations of elected officials by party affiliation," the study reported.
Shields and Cragan also alluded to the scandal that erupted at the U.S. Attorney General's office. Alberto Gonzales resigned in August 2007 after several members of Congress called for him to quit, following an investigation charging that seven U.S. attorneys were dismissed in December 2007 strictly for political reasons.
The Hills' trial will be at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas. The Dallas Weekly will have continuing close coverage of the trial.