...her enemies are at ease.
The LORD has brought her grief
because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.
Oh, the lamentations that must be occurring at the Harris County DA's office right now. The wringing of hands, the gnashing of teeth. The pointing of fingers.
Lykos is on the way to enacting what I see to be one of the single largest steps toward justice that Harris County has seen in a long time: actually testing and relying on forensic evidence.
Why wasn't this a policy already? Why would Rosenthal rather destroy a bank full of DNA evidence in a race against the clock to prevent exonerations? Why would current (and past) ADA's rather have Rosenthal-Siegler, who might never have progressed toward actually trying to ensure the integrity of their convictions, as opposed to Lykos, who, love her or hate her, is at least letting the sun shine on practices at the HCDAO?
Accountability. That's why. Rosenthal wanted to make sure his convictions would never be questioned, going so far as to delay the investigation into cases where a question arose as to the defendant's actual innocence, and interfered with attempts to investigate the Houston Crime Lab while knowingly relying on convictions from the lab that was producing false evidentiary reports. Rosenthal and his followers have for years hid behind the coward's defense of "He's guilty, a jury said so." Sure they did. Because in many cases evidence was withheld, sometimes intentionally and in others unintentionally, or the crime lab faked it, or any number of other reasons.
Lykos promised to clean house, and while I have no idea if the prosecutors who have left to date are actually guilty of some of the above-listed (crimes, in some cases) failures, the fact is that the office in general needed to adopt more safeguards. But that would mean scrutiny, and more work, to which they are loathe to subject themselves.
Now, the question of a prosecutor, cop, or crime lab intentionally destroying, hiding, or falsifying evidence can never be 100% prevented if they want to do it. But this is an important (first) step in making sure that convictions in Harris County are based on actual evidence, not the whim or faulty work of a cop, investigator, or prosecutor.
As for the passage at the top of this story, it will be interpreted differently by those on different sides of this issue (although we should all be on the same side of this one). As for me, let's just say that daylight is the enemy of darkness, and leave it at that.
There Goes a Man
10 months ago