The Rosenthal-Siegler DA’s Office (?)

I’ve referred here a time or two (okay, at every opportunity) to the Chuck Rosenthal-Kelly Siegler DA’s Office. An anonymous commenter on Defending People (a prosecutor whose identity is known only to her and me) says that’s not fair — that Kelly doesn’t share responsibility for the missteps of the Chuck Rosenthal administration. I told her that I was willing to be convinced, but that it sure appears that Kelly has been a member of Chuck’s inner circle, and in a managerial position in the office (including a stint in charge of “professional development” — training younger prosecutors), for seven years.

Everyone in that office in a managerial position shares responsibility for the wrongs perpetrated by the office and by its prosecutors unless proven otherwise The presumption of innocence has nothing to do with it: when the captain runs the ship aground, the other officers had better be able to explain where they were and what they did to prevent the allision, if they want to keep their jobs.

It appears that in recent days Harris County prosecutors have become a large part of my readership. This morning in the courthouse no fewer than four prosecutors commented on it (nice blog, or I read your blog, to which I cannot but reply, “well, thank you!”).

On her campaign website (look! a judge!) Kelly doesn’t mention Chuck Rosenthal once. I’m not sure that will be enough to dissociate her, in the voters’ minds, from Chuck.

So, to my new prosecutorial fan base, here’s the question: is it fair for voters to hold Kelly Siegler’s close professional relationship with Chuck Rosenthal, as well as her positions of rank, respect, and power in the Office, against her when considering her qualifications as a candidate for District Attorney? Or does the buck somehow bypass Kelly on its way to stopping at Chuck?

Why or why not?





0 responses to “The Rosenthal-Siegler DA’s Office (?)”

  1. Okay, I’m going to try this one more time. The last two posts I’ve tried to leave disappeared into cyberspace (through no fault of Mark’s).

    Why does “the buck” bypass Kelly Siegler? Because it never reached her. The entire “Canadian” e-mail scandal never fell into her jurisdiction as a prosecutor. She was never part of Mike Trent’s chain of command, and she wasn’t on the Disciplinary Committee. Every last prosecutor on the office was aware of the Canadian e-mail (most likely due to the fact that it was sent to “All Prosecutors”), including the African-American prosecutors. The prosecutors who raised their concerns about the e-mail spoke up then, and ultimately, the issue was resolved without 1) anyone quitting; or 2) anyone going to the media (keep in mind that this was in 2003). Kelly had absolutely NOTHING to do with any of this process.

    I don’t want to sound like a political ad, but Kelly has ALWAYS been a strong proponent of diversifying the Office and seeing African-American and Hispanic prosecutors get promoted. The problem is that we ALL start out as Misdemeanor Threes and have to work our way up. By the time a prosecutor reaches the Felony Chief level, or even a Felony Two, they have become extremely marketable in the legal community.

    This office has a history of having produced incredibly talented African-American trial lawyers such as Clive Markland, Michelle Beck, Alvin Nunnery, and Troy Cotton. All of these prosecutors also rose pretty quickly through the ranks of the Office. The problem is that once they get to a Felony Two or Chief level, they are so marketable that the Office can’t match the salaries that big firms can offer them or the money they will make in private practice. Remember, we’re all on government salaries over here. Trust me, there are plenty of us that would kill to have attorneys with Troy Cotton’s skills back at the Office.

    I guess the bottom-line is that I have an issue with your repeated claims that Kelly is part of Chuck’s inner-circle, when it is now becoming more and more apparent that Chuck keeps his own counsel. He may listen to what members of his staff had to say, but ultimately, he was going to do what he was going to do. Under the law of parties, Kelly is merely present.

    Its late, and I’m tired, so I’m probably not making my point as clearly as I should. The computer ate my original post, and it was awesome.

    My final point is that its a hell of a thing to throw out the accusation that a person is a racist. It is the one allegation that a civilized society cannot forgive, and the mere accusation sticks to a person whether it was justified or not. I just hate seeing it attributed to Kelly when it is so absolutely not the case.

  2. Siegler doesn’t strike me as a leader. This has little to do with racism, and nearly everything to do with the tone of the office. As you noted, people in responsible positions have an obligation to raise their voices when something is wrong in their organization. Someone from whom we’ve heard little to nothing may have great qualifications for an assistant, but is hardly the person to lead in a new direction.

    And on a related note (judgment), Siegler has admitted she is not a politician, and it shows. I visited her web site and found that some parts of it don’t work well at all. Not a good idea, if you’re wanting to be taken seriously. But the more telling item was the choice of campaign treasurer. According to the site, her campaign treasurer is her husband, Dr. Sam. You may remember him as Rosenthal’s dentist and the source of some of Rosenthal’s e-mail problems. If she’s trying to distance herself from Rosenthal and this is a practical demonstration of her political sensibility, she should simply quit now. We don’t need another loose cannon.

  3. Obviously,you do not know the “talented african-american” da’s you refer to. If you did, you would know how they suffered in silence. As did many of the trully talented da’s did under his regime. An effective da would have cultivated this talent, not put them under the “tutelage” of talentless da’s like mccorvey, kari allen,perry, therese buess etc. who did nothing but undermine the talent they desire. shame on chuck and shame on those who work under him for not quitting.
    how are they any different than those who fought under hitler because they were “patriotic” to germany.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.