Texas is known as a place where law and order is no laughing matter. The state boasts aggressive prosecutors who are not afraid to go head to head with the scum of the earth and are famous for not exactly being shy when it comes to seeking the death penalty. Now, the Lone Star State can put another trophy over the mantle: according to a well-know Houston law firm, Texas has the lion’s share of the top ten worst U.S. prosecutors in 2007.
It comes as no surprise that our very own Alberto Gonzales tops the list released yesterday by the Bennett Law Firm of Houston. It was Gonzales’s role in the controversial firing of nine U.S. Attorneys and politicizing the Justice Department that earned him this year’s highest honor. He is followed at a close second by former Texas prosecutor Terry D. McEachern. While “Gonzalez has set a course of deception to destroy and entire Government Department,” states the release, “McEachern engaged in destroying an entire town.” In Tulia, Texas, he prosecuted 40 African-Americans on cocaine possession charges in 1999. McEachern lied and knowingly used false evidence, violating the state’s professional conduct rules, according to the list. Eventually, 38 of the people who were jailed were freed. To put this in context, McEachern came in one spot ahead of North Carolina’s Mike Nifong, who notoriously botched the case in which three Duke Lacrosse players were falsely accused of raping a stripper.
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Coming in at lucky number seven is Charles Sebesta, who presented false evidence during the murder prosecution of Anthony Graves in Somerville and did not disclose to the defense that another person had claimed responsibility for the murder, according to the Bennett firm. And finally in the number eight hole is Ward County DA Randall Reynolds. Reynolds was chosen for delaying a case for more than two years against two prison guards accused of sexually abusing inmates. – Chris Vogel