Today’s Austin American-Statesman has a profile on Rick Reed: “Travis district attorney candidate Reed shakes up race: Longtime prosecutor invokes DeLay case, wouldn’t seek death penalty“.
Reed has pledged that if elected, he would never seek the death penalty. “I’ve never had a burning desire to kill another human being,” he said.
Reed has attacked fellow candidate Rosemary Lehmberg, the first assistant district attorney. He said that while he pushed District Attorney Ronnie Earle to present the case against then-U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, to a grand jury in 2005, Lehmberg advised Earle against it.
Most recently, the 52-year-old Reed said that as part of the same investigation — into the use of corporate money in the 2002 Texas elections — he advised Earle that a dismissal agreement struck with four corporate defendants in the case was unethical. He warned that it could lead to charges that prosecutors illegally coerced or extorted money that the businesses agreed to give to an educational program as part of the deal.
With the comments, Reed, who resigned as an assistant district attorney after speaking to reporters about the DeLay case, has emerged as the maverick in the field of contenders in the March 4 Democratic primary.
Sandy Leeds, a UT finance lecturer who in the early 1990s was a young prosecutor working under Reed in Dallas, said Reed stood out among lawyers for his integrity.
“Rick was a guy who I really respected,” Leeds said. “He wasn’t trying to put the most years on anyone that he could. He was trying to give them fair sentences.”