The first nomination for Worst Performance by a District Attorney in a Lead Role for 2008 is:
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
DA Howard wasted $3 million dollars trying to get a death sentence for Brian Nichols after Nichols offered to plead guilty and accept a sentence of life without parole.
Now that Howard has wasted $3 million dollars and failed to get a death sentence, a bunch of Southern Republican legislators in Georgia are scrambling to see who will be the first to file a bill to change the requirement that a death sentence in Georgia must be a unanimous decision by the jury. No other state allows a death sentence if the jury is not unanimously in favor of death, but those Republican Georgia lawmakers are going to try to pass such a bill. It is likely to be held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. So, on top of the $3 million that Howard wasted trying to get a death sentence for Nichols after he already agreed to life without parole, Georgia politicians are going to waste more money pursuing a likely unconstitutional change to state law.
Also nominated for Worst Performace by a District Attorney in a Lead Role is:
Former Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal.
On February 15, 2008, Rosenthal resigned as Harris County district attorney, following the filing of a lawsuit petitioning for his removal from office. Emails made public exposed his extramarital affair with his secretary. He was also found to be using government computers for campaigning and receiving and sending racist emails.
Rosenthal also deleted thousands of e-mails that had been subpoenaed and was fined $18,900 after a federal judge found him in contempt of court.
When he resigned Rosenthal cited judgment problems from prescription medication. In a deal with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, an earlier investigation was dropped when Rosenthal resigned. Rosenthal’s appointed successor said there was not sufficient evidence to charge Rosenthal with crimes.
Rosenthal, a Republican, was first elected in 2000 and presided over an office that sent more convicts to death row than any other prosecutors’ office in the nation. However, in 2008, Harris County did not send anyone to death row, including during the 45 days of 2008 when Rosenthal was still the DA but too busy defending himself from wrongdoing to concentrate on doing work.
Vote below. If you want to nominate someone else, choose “other” and write the name in the space below other.
UPDATE: So far, one person has written in the name of Rene Guerra in the “other” category.