After his predecessor, Johnny Holmes, retired, Rosenthal was elected Harris County District Attorney after facing Pat Lykos, County Attorney Michael Stafford and many others in the Republican primary. He was re-elected in 2004.
In 2002, he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in Lawrence v. Texas that laws against sodomy are constitutional. The Court disagreed with him, holding 6-3 that prosecutions for private sexual conduct violates the United States Constitution.
Rosenthal is currently married to Cindy Rosenthal, a retired FBI Special Agent.
On February 15, 2008, Chuck Rosenthal resigned as Harris County district attorney, following the filing of a lawsuit petitioning for his removal from office. The press release issued by Rosenthal suggests substance abuse played a part in his decision. Rosenthal's official release claims, "Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment, I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment." The same lawsuit also calls for the removal of Sheriff Tommy Thomas.
Chuck currently resides in Houston at, 7723 Pagewood, Houston, Texas 77063.
In a federal court case, emails in the Harris County District Attorney's office were under subpoena. Some of those emails exposed his extramarital affair with his secretary as well as being found to be using government computers for campaigning and receiving and sending racist emails. After an emergency meeting with local GOP leaders, the GOP asked him to step aside and to not seek reelection. On January 4, 2008, he announced that he would not seek reelection, but will finish out his current term.
Quanell X has gotten into the fray calling for his resignation and had organized a rally that took place outside the county courthouse January 24, 2008.
More recent controversies involving Chuck Rosenthal include:
On February 15, 2008, Rosenthal resigned shortly after a lawsuit was filed by attorney Lloyd Kelley, seeking to remove Rosenthal from office on the grounds of official misconduct, incompetency or intoxication.
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