If charge is devised for political gain it won’t be a surprise

It almost appears like some kind of October surprise, but it’s not just the right month, it’s not even the right year.
This week Delegate Michael Caputo, D-Marion, was charged with misdemeanor battery — more than six months after the facts this charge is based on.
We’re unsure about the pace of the state Capitol Police’s investigation of this incident and why it’s filing a criminal complaint now. The criminal complaint by an officer of the Capitol Police describes Caputo “making a commotion, talking loud and saying nasty things as he started up the steps.”
We, nor Caputo, or anyone else defends his behavior next when he stormed through the House chamber’s door, which struck a doorkeeper. The doors are traditionally closed during a prayer and pledge before convening.
That ensued after he objected to a poster being displayed in the Capitol’s Rotunda during GOP Day at the Legislature. For some perspective, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito also condemned the anti-Muslim display, that fueled Caputo’s anger.
Caputo is also accused of elbowing a female delegate, who initially said she was not hurt, but sore.
She later told Capitol Police she sought medical attention as did the doorkeeper. The delegate now says she has continued to experience pain and is still under a physician’s care for that injury.
Caputo has admitted to kicking in the door and has publicly apologized and also spoke to the doorkeeper in private. Two resolutions to censure or expel him from the Legislature were tabled later by a majority in the House. However, he was stripped of his committee assignments for the remainder of that session.
We are not going to play judge or jury here as to whether this incident rises to the level of a crime, a political vendetta or something else.
However, we are perplexed that an incident where no one was seemingly hurt in early March is making headlines again in mid-September. Some might describe it as a second bite of the apple. That’s an expression to describe a second chance at an argument previously lost or sidelined. Courts, as a rule, typically frown on second bites of the apple.
However, in this case no legal action resulted until now for whatever reasons — good or bad.
Oddly enough though, the state Republican Party’s Executive Committee in August did approve a resolution condemning Caputo’s action.
It noted “this delegate should have been censured,” though nearly 25 of his GOP colleagues in the House voted not to at the time of the incident.
Like all of us, no one is above the law, and has the right to a speedy trial.
But if and when charges or trials are exploited for political purposes, there’s never a right time for that.

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