February 21, 2008
Defense attorneys want new DA named

Excuse me, Governor Perry? When are we going to get a new DA?

Patrick McCann, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, said that one interpretation of state law suggests a district attorney's office without an elected head is tantamount to a court without a judge.

Perry spokesman Alicia Castle dismissed McCann's theory, saying that the Texas government code stipulates that, in such cases, authority for the department is handed to the first assistant.

Castle said no timetable has been established for naming Rosenthal's successor.

Yeah, well, as with special elections, the Governor interprets these laws as he sees fit. If you're the least bit surprised by this, you haven't been paying attention.

This, however, is a surprise:

In his letter to Perry, U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle, Judge Olen Underwood of the Second Judicial District of Texas and other officials, McCann also called for state and federal investigations into possible wrongdoings by Rosenthal while in office.

The Texas Attorney General's Office probe of Rosenthal ended with his Friday resignation.

Rosenthal learned Thursday that the office planned to file a lawsuit this week to remove him from office, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Attorney Generals Office said.

Strickland disagreed with Rosenthal's attorney's claim that a deal had been struck to end the investigation if Rosenthal resigned.

Deputy Attorney General Eric Nichols has offered his office's assistance to local prosecutors in any further potential action against Rosenthal.

That a deal was in place was the clear implication attorney Woods gave. I was disappointed to hear that such a deal might mean there would be no conclusion to that investigation, if only for the learning we could take from it. As such, I'm pleased to hear that it's still ongoing. If Chuck Rosenthal broke the law, his resignation shouldn't be enough to get him off the hook for it. It's what he'd say if he were the one doing the investigating. Let's follow through on this and see where it takes us.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 21, 2008 to Crime and Punishment

Unless I am mistaken, the only authority the Attorney General's Office would have in the matter is to file a lawsuit for removal. He resigned, that's it. Hardly a deal. Just reality of the situation. The other reality is that the Attorney General's Office was preparing to do just that. Which raised the question of why the Attorney General's Office was preparing to do so instead of the county attorney. Obviously because the county attorney wouldn't have done so. There is far more to this than I suspect anyone will ever know.

The Attorney General's Office apparently did state that any "criminal matters" needed to be addressed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office. That of course won't happen. So perhaps someone will force the matter and the Attorney General's Office will direct the matter to the Justice Department. And perhaps if we have a Democrat in the White House in a year, something will be done.

You do have to wonder who Rick Perry could appoint without setting off a further firestorm. In all probability, Bert Graham will be watching his step very carefully. Knowing that quite a few are watching his step as well. Maybe in this case it's best to leave things be until we have a new district attorney.

My concern is there are too many racist Democrats who will vote for a Republican rather than an African-American. The only real hope we have of restoring some sense of justice to our criminal justice system is C.O. Bradford.

One of the things I've noticed the past two years is the growing division between the Democratic party and the Democratic leadership in Texas.

Reality is some of that leadership enjoyed the "string-pulling" by Chuck Rosenthal. And might not have it with C.O. Bradford. But might have it with another Republican.

People need to finally vote what they know is right instead of what the leadership tells them is right.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 21, 2008 8:23 AM