Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rosenthal Out

Charles Kuffner brings the word that Chuck Rosenthal withdrew his name from consideration for another term as Harris County DA. Republican Jim Leitner, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, will replace him on the ballot. I must say I didn't expect this: I thought Rosenthal's ego was too big for him to let himself to be cowed out of the race.

Who is Jim Leitner? He ran third behind Rosenthal in the 2000 GOP primary for Harris County DA. And he sounds like a past critic of Rosenthal's take-no-prisoners style. According to the Houston Chronicle:

In 2001, Leitner said he thought Harris County prosecutors were overzealous in their pursuit of death sentences against capital murder defendants.

"As long as that is the prevailing view, there are going to be a lot of capital murder prosecutions. People in other counties don't see it that way."

He added, "I think we kill a lot of people who don't fit the statute."

Though it's just a hint, that attitude would certainly be quite a change of pace from the current leadership at the Harris DA. Miya Shay adds that "more names could be on the ballot. Because Rosenthal took his name off, candidates have an additional 48 hours to file, meaning the new deadly in Friday at 6pm."

We'll soon see if any new names emerge. Kuff fears that the last minute candidate switcheroo makes it "harder for C.O. Bradford to win." But in truth, we know Bradford has flaws as a candidate, while I don't know much about Leitner. I look forward to a vigorous election process to allow voters to decide who is better qualified to run the DA's office, which could sorely use the kind of credibility boost Craig Watkins has brought in Dallas.

UPDATE: Rhymes with Right thinks Rosenthal's alleged affair may not be the only reason he withdrew, pointing to a federal judge's order released minutes after his announcement about deleted emails from the DA's county computer. Kuff has more and speculates that Leitner may be a placeholder for another candidate, possibly from Rosenthal's staff. Also, see the New York Times coverage of Rosenthal's announcement.

NUTHER UPDATE: And now, bizarrely, Rosenthal appears to be back in the race. What must be going through this man's head? Strange craziness.


rage judicata said...

Holy crap. I bet Mrs. Rosenthal was the one behind that.

Sounds like the R running instead is fairly moderate--at least compared with Rosenthal. And that means trouble for Bradford. As it stands, I won't vote for Bradford. I distrust any remnant of Lee Brown's administration that I might have voted for Rosenthal, and I hate that guy. Glad there's a new candidate that I can vote for in good conscience.

Anonymous said...

Siegler just threw her hat in the ring. This is gonna get ugly and fast.