When Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets to prison in a couple of years, like all the other convicts in the state's penal system, he will continue to proclaim his innocence.

rick perryClattering his tin drinking cup against the bars of his cell, Perry will scream his conviction was political pay back until burly guards mace him and then drag Perry down to solitary.

After 30 days in the hole, a despondent Perry will be showering one morning when he meets a large fellow inmate with scary tattoos named Leonard who promises to look after the ex-governor in return for certain favors.

You don't think this will happen? I do.

You see, Travis County, Tex., is essentially the city of Austin, the Lone Star State's overwhelmingly Democratic bastion. It's a great town with a vibrant intellectual and artistic community. It's also the state capitol where the governor conducts his business.

A year or so ago, some of Perry's business attracted the attention of the Texas Public Integrity Unit, which oversees the conduct of public officials. The unit is under the supervision of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat.

Last year Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving, convicted and punished. She sought treatment and said she won't run for office again.

Seeing an opportunity to replace her, however, Perry demanded her resignation so he could appoint Lehmberg's replacement who would then call off the Public Integrity Unit's investigation into Perry's signature Texas Cancer Research and Prevention Institute, where a high ranking official faces felony corruption charges. 

Lehmberg refused to step down, so Perry used his executive authority to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit. Thus, says a special prosecutor, Perry committed two felonies, abuse of his official capacity and coercing a public servant. Evidence of Perry's crimes was presented to a grand jury and an indictment was returned earlier this month.

A law and order guy, Perry likes to brag about the state's low tolerance for criminals and the stiff sentences handed down in Texas. If he is convicted, the would-be presidential candidate could be looking at up to 99 years in the joint on the abuse rap and an extra 10 for the coercion count.

As Rick Perry himself once famously uttered, "Oops."

His conviction is likely for a couple of reasons. During his term as governor, two other county district attorneys were convicted of driving under the influence, both Republicans. There wasn't a peep from Gov. Perry in either case, so he clearly applied a politically-motivated double standard to Lehmberg.

In addition, he will more than likely face a Travis County jury and as I say, there are a lot of Democrats in the Austin area.

"The bottom line is that Rick Perry saw Lehmberg's drunk-driving charge as an opportunity to get rid of her and her active investigation into the cancer research fund scandal," Ed Espinoza, director of Progress Texas, told a reporter. "Rick Perry chose to use the powers of his office to act as judge and jury."