"Former Harris County District Attorneys Johnny Holmes and Charles "Chuck" Rosenthal left a deplorable legacy of prosecutorial misconduct involving cases where prosecutors not only withheld clearly exculpatory information but fabricated evidence, including the knowing use of perjured testimony, to secure criminal conviction-even in death penalty cases. The administration of these two former district attorneys, which spanned nearly 30 years, was proud of their "win-at-any-costs" philosophy that ultimately morphed into unofficial policy"
"Robert Fickman, a defense lawyer and past-president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyer's Association, commended Rosenthal for the experienced lawyers he's placed in key positions and acknowledged that much of the criticism that's levelled at him may not be fair.
But, he said, there's a general perception in the defense bar that "he doesn't rein in loose cannons on his staff, that he lets people on his staff engage in conduct that's aggressive to the point of being borderline behavior."
Rosenthal himself faced such accusations as a young prosecutor in Holmes' office."
"There are many good reasons to believe that Chuck Rosenthal should not be the district attorney in Harris County, Texas ... or anywhere else. He leads the nation in his aggressive use of the death penalty and refused to change that stance in the face of evidence that the Houston crime lab was falsifying data. When a grand jury asked Rosenthal to recuse himself from the investigation of that scandal on the ground that he was up to his neck in it, he declined. He defended his office's reliance on false testimony to support a conviction although he had the good grace to apologize for one of the many wrongful convictions for which his office is responsible."
The realization that 8 years of such a bloody cluster-fuck could be shoved down the memory hole by an entire city is startling; although his eventual successor, Pat Lykos, did establish a unit whose purpose was to examine wrongful-conviction cases, it appears that little has been done to right the wrongs. If you can't produce exonerating DNA evidence (which has happened in a surprising number of cases, probably due to the Crime Lab's shocking malfeasance), you're screwed. Your only option is the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which we'll talk about later.