January 20, 2008
Two more views of Rosenthal

The discussion of DA Chuck Rosenthal moves to the Chron's op-ed pages today with a couple of articles. First is newly-elected City Council Member Jolanda Jones' scathing call for Rosenthal to resign.

As I enter my 10th year as a criminal defense attorney in Harris County, I am more concerned than ever that the Harris County District Attorney's Office is systemically flawed -- and that its leader, Chuck Rosenthal, has fostered a culture of inequality wherein which defendants are treated differently, not because of what they've done, but because of who they are.

I know from personal experience that there are good assistant district attorneys who serve under Rosenthal. The problem is, they aren't allowed to pursue justice that is blind and fair; in some instances because of Rosenthal's policies.

When I did an interview with Jones during the campaign last year, the subject that animated her the most was criminal justice. It's good to see her take a leadership role in this.

Next is Patrick McCann, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

For the first time in many years, the voters in Harris County will have real choices in the race for district attorney. Republicans will have a contested primary with experienced candidates, Jim Leitner and Kelly Seigler, as well as Houston police Capt. Doug Perry and former Judge Pat Lykos. The winner of that race will have to face former HPD Police Chief Clarence Bradford on the Democratic ticket. Perhaps now we can, or at least should, finally focus on the actual day-to-day policies of this office, rather than the personal lives of its recent occupant. Here are questions to ask these candidates to see if voters can support more of the same or real change.

They're good questions, some of which tie into items Jones mentions. Both pieces are worth reading.

Somewhat curiously, the Chron itself has not yet opined on the Rosenthal situation, at least not that I can recall. I know they usually take their time on matters like these before weighing in, but I'm beginning to wonder when they think it might be a good time. Maybe they're debating whether or not to call for his resignation. I would have thought by now that would be an easy enough thing to do - certainly not controversial at this point - but who knows what they're thinking. The least they could do is come up with a Chuck Rosenthal haiku.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 20, 2008 to Crime and Punishment