Perry urged to name new DA

February 21, 2008 2:27:13 PM PST
A trial lawyers' association wants Gov. Rick Perry to name an immediate replacement for District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal because they fear the vacancy could hinder assistant prosecutors from pursuing cases. Patrick McCann, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, said one interpretation of state law suggests a DA's office without an elected chief is tantamount to a court without a judge.

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said Texas law stipulates that authority for the department is handed to the first assistant. Castle told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday that no timetable has been set for naming Rosenthal's successor.

In his letter to Perry, U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle and other officials, McCann also called for state and federal investigations into possible wrongdoings by Rosenthal while in office.

The Texas Attorney General's Office probe of Rosenthal ended with his resignation last Friday. Rosenthal learned a day earlier the office planned to file a lawsuit this week to remove him from office, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, told the Houston Chronicle.

Strickland disagreed with Rosenthal's attorney's claim that a deal had been struck to end the investigation if Rosenthal resigned.

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