Sunday, February 3, 2008

What the Hell?

I'm issuing an Amber Alert for Rick Casey, because somebody has clearly kidnapped him and is writing in his place. His column this morning in the Chronicle is, well, down-right, uh, fair. Actually, out of the Anti-D.A. Office Trinity of Alan Bernstein, Lisa Falkenberg, and Rick Casey, Mr. Casey's columns at least seem to seek out a little more truth than the rest of the group. That doesn't mean he's a big fan of the Office, but at least he doesn't run the same story five times and call it new (like Falkenberg), or bury stories on Pat Lykos (like Bernstein).

So, is Casey being held for ransom? Did aliens brainwash him?

Or does he realize that people starting to get a little sick of this whole debacle?

Chuck is done. That's beyond dispute.

He may struggle on through the remaining 11 months of his term. He may quit tomorrow. Who knows? But at this point, Chuck is the very essence of a "lame duck" in Office. Other than having him executed, I don't know what else the Anti-Chuck Coalition could be asking for. The protestors got everything that they wanted.

Mike Trent? Kelly Siegler? Rob Freyer? There's been nothing new coming out about them (other than the fact that the media is still holding onto the Freyer explanation e-mail from 2003 for some reason) for a while now.

The thing that anybody who has ever been in a heated argument or fight can tell you is that being angry for so long takes a lot of energy, and ultimately, well, it just starts to wear down. With no new gasoline to throw on the fire, the fire burns down. Sure, there will always be die hard folks that want to keep blasting away at the Office, but the rest of the general public is just getting sick and tired of it.

And that's good news for those of you exhausted, beat-down, and demoralized Assistant D.A.s who just finished up with the worst month of your professional lives.

Smile a little. The fires are fading. Maybe now, you can all get back to doing your jobs.

Don't forget the lessons learned from this whole incident. Arrogance and power can breed a legion of enemies.

But more importantly, don't forget those fellow prosecutors, defense attorneys, and members of the community that stood beside you all, when plenty of others were relishing the joy of watching you suffer for the misdeeds of your boss.

And don't forget those who have done everything that they can by trying to capitalize on Chuck's failings to bolster themselves into a position they aren't qualified to hold.


anonymous c said...

I guess that the Chronicle must have realized their error in allowing a fair column because they seem to have (at least temporarily)removed the article from their website. That's amusing!

Leviathan said...

I guess sometimes I just don't get where you're coming from. A simple reading of your post suggests that remembering who are the Office's friends and enemies is more important than remembering how the Office came to its present uncomfortable position.

Engaging in divisive, fairly childish, pointless pursuits like remembering friends and enemies contributed much to the present situation, and, frankly, the Office always is going to have friends and enemies. It's much more important to focus on why things turned out as they did, and on how to avoid repetition. Good public servants don't operate from a siege mentality.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

There have been plenty of prosecutors who have gotten words of encouragement from people and those words were greatly appreciated. There were other people who would gleefully attempt to humiliate ADAs who had absolutely nothing to do with Rosenthal or his e-mail scandal. I'm not trying to foster an "us versus them" mentality, and I'm certainly not trying to encourage ADAs to operate from under a siege mentality. However, the ADAs do feel like they've been under siege for the past month thanks to their boss.
The lessons of the past month are going to be permanently embedded in every prosecutor who lived through it, and as Leitner said "a change is coming". My only disagreement with that statement is that I think the change is already here.
Prosecutors have to be aware of the effect that power conveyed through arrogance causes, and they have a long road ahead of them to restore faith in the system. But that doesn't mean that they have to spend the rest of their careers conducting themselves like a scolded dog that piddled on the carpet.

Mark Bennett said...

If this has been the worst month of their professional careers, they might consider reflecting on how fortunate they have been compared to the people whose futures they decide.

As a judge intimately familiar with the workings of the Office in recent years said to me, "Maybe this'll make some of them less damn arrogant. They need it."

A Harris County Lawyer said...

But Mark, aren't you pretty much just lumping the ADAs in with criminals when you say that?

Sure, maybe the ADAs needed a little bit of "humble pie", but that doesn't make them criminals.

Mark Bennett said...

I guess maybe I am lumping the ADAs in with the criminals, me, and the rest of humanity. Do you have a problem with that?

We're all more or less fortunate to be where we are; you and I have been spectacularly more fortunate than most. The recognition of our good fortune should affect our behavior, especially toward those less fortunate.

toggleblog said...

Whatever your feelings about Mr. Freyer, why hasn't anyone pointed out that he paid a price for his Canadian comment shortly after it was made: namely, he suffered embarassment amongst his colleagues and was passed over for promotion.

anonymous c said...

Yes. Good point, Toggleblog. He paid a price and shouldn't have. The e-mail (which, as AHCL has pointed out, is being conveniently held back by the media) will show that he was referring to the hold-outs...who were NOT African-American. Therefore, the "Canadians" reference was not a racial remark. Therefore, this whole point is moot. Unless political references are now on the PC hitlist. I honestly wouldn't be surprised.