Friday, March 28, 2008

The Rosenthal Contempt Order

I just got done reading the Rosenthal contempt order, courtesy of the Chronicle. For those of you who relied heavily on Cliff's Notes during high school and college, the portion where Judge Hoyt is really blasting Chuck is between pages 15-18 for the most part.

I think it is also noteworthy that Judge Hoyt clears 1st Assistant Bert Graham of any wrong-doing in the opening pages.

Strangely enough, despite Pat Lykos' numerous insinuations, I don't see Kelly Siegler's name even mentioned in it.

Although Hoyt dismisses Chuck's numerous excuses for his actions, the opinion does paint a pretty interesting picture of a man who was losing control of his rational judgment the more things spun out of control.

When this story first broke, I had some ambivalence about how I felt about Chuck Rosenthal.

Personally, the man was always kind to me. Based upon my personal (albeit limited) experiences with him, I have nothing bad to say about him.

But as I read Judge Hoyt's Contempt Order, I felt my face turning red. Not really out of anger, but out of embarrassment of Chuck.

Chuck was somebody that the Harris County District Attorney's Office did a lot of things for. The Office, as a whole, was always very kind to Chuck Rosenthal.

Before he became the elected D.A., it forgave his lapses in judgment (from fire crackers in the stairwell to other things).

When he threw his name in the race as the only person from the Office to run to replace Johnny Holmes, the Office rallied around him to support him. They did it in 2000 and again in 2004.

But when all the chips started to fall at the end of the last year, Chuck never even extended his Office the courtesy of letting them know a lawsuit was pending. He never let them know that the sh*t was about to hit the fan when the e-mails between him and Kerry were revealed.

And when it became obvious that he had put the entire Office's reputation in the toilet through his own personal actions, he refused to step down, or even explain himself to his prosecutors. When the racial e-mails surfaced, he never apologized for them.

He told the Republican leadership that he wasn't quitting, when they unanimously asked him to. He told them that they hadn't done anything to help him get elected.

Chuck basically turned his back on and alienated everyone who had been loyal to him in the first place. He did to every last one of the ADAs who served under him. From Bert Graham all the way to the greenest Misdemeanor Three.

And as I felt my face turning red reading his Contempt Order, I realized that none of those ADAs deserve one bit of the "taint" that Chuck Rosenthal has cast upon them. Not Bert Graham. Not the greenest Three. And not Kelly Siegler.

If anything, the prosecutors that served under Chuck Rosenthal have more reason to be angry with the man than anyone. Chuck is gone. Its the ones left behind that have to keep getting blasted in his aftermath.

The ADAs have to wipe off the mud that Pat Lykos and the Chronicle continue to throw, The ADAs are the ones getting comments written about them in the Chronicle blogs calling for them all to be fired or imprisoned.

And the ADAs are the ones who, on a daily basis, have to stand in front of a jury comprised of the general public that Chuck alienated. ADAs are the ones who receive the jokes at their Office's expense. The insults. The distrust.

Chuck just disappeared leaving the people who once followed him bewildered and betrayed.

The man destroyed the name of so much that so many prosecutors held sacred. ADAs are supposed to be the guys and girls in the white hats. Now, through no action of their own (yet egged on by a political opportunist and others who take joy in their "come uppance") they are the ones that have to show that they aren't bad people.

My ambivalence about how I feel about Chuck Rosenthal is gone now.

3 comments:

anonymous c said...

At the risk of offering up what will no doubt be construed by the
Lykos/Bernstein/”Question Authority”/Bradford Club as an “adoring sycophantic response”, AHCL, I have to say that your post really got to the heart of the matter.

Criminal defense lawyers are one side of the equation.

A vitally important side, no question whatsoever …but only one side, nonetheless.

On the other side of the jury nullification, “Down with Authority” mantra lies the victims.

These victims, of all races, religions and ethnicities, are the people that the ADAs have been working tirelessly for.

They don’t get the headlines.
They don’t get the name recognition.
They certainly don’t get the paycheck.

They also, very evidently, don’t get the respect.

I’ll tell you what, though. All of the people that are now expressing such glee in insulting and disrespecting prosecutors, subverting the system and, purposely or not, paving the road for utter incompetence, will, one day, understand the invaluable role that these people play in a civilized society.

Great! Down with “The Man”, “The System”, etc. Good times, right?

Well, I pray (and I truly, TRULY mean this!) that none of those ever people have to face somebody murdering one of their family members, stealing all that they own in the world or raping one of their sisters or loved ones.

Scare tactics?

No. Not at all! This stuff happens all too frequently. It really does. It is, quite unfortunately, reality.

SOMEBODY has to be on the side of the crime victims. Who should it be? If not the ADAs, then who?

The criminal catches so many breaks from those elites in ivory towers with sympathetic viewpoints. He’s poor, after all. He’s a minority (or not, of course !). He’s been unloved. He’s been marginalized by Capitalism. Screw “the victim”! What about the poor, disenfranchised criminal? Ignore the laws! Let’s topple this thing!

But, meanwhile, what of that citizen who has been utterly ravaged?

Who gives a flying cr*p about them?

Nobody??? Seriously?!?

I’d love to envision that same world that the seemingly criminal-sympathizing group does, but, sadly, as they pontificate from on high, people are being victimized.

And the ADAs are doing their very best to right the wrongs.

Just like firefighters, cops, teachers and social workers, the ADAs are doing what they can to protect the people from the predators.

They should not be blamed for Rosenthal's HUGE tactical errors.

Are all accused predators guilty? No! Of course not!

Are most of the accused guilty? Very probably.

Please don’t insult them for doing their jobs.

They do it for the collective whole.

That’s me and you, folks.

Anonymous said...

The ADA's who worked for Rosenthal got screwed. Rosenthal turned out to be a real piece of garbage. Rosenthal decided to diddle the girl. Rosenthal decided to delete the emails. Rosenthal decided to blame prescription drugs.

Now that he is gone, thew regime needs to abandon his stupid policies. Let the ADA's act like lawyers. It is pathetic when a licensed attorney (Felony Chief, #2, or #3) has to say, "I can't do that, we have a policy against it".

Office policies are like rear ends. Everyone has one and they all stink.

Let the lawyers act like lawyers!

Rosenthal is lucky. If any of us ahd deleted emails after a subpoena, we would be indicted by lunch.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 3:46,
I understand your frustration with the Office policies. I think, at a minimum, the policies should be revisited and discussed.
It is hard to argue with your other point, also.