The death penalty in Travis County
Unlike most counties, the Travis County D.A.'s office has a capital murder case committee made up of about 10 staff people who make recommendations on whether to seek the death penalty. First Assistant Rosemary Lehmberg explains: "The committee reviews cases, first of all, for the purpose of legal sufficiency, to take input from the family of the victim, and to review what evidence is available -- and because [the committee] is a diverse group we hope to approach the case from all angles." The final decision, however, rests with Earle.
Last month, prosecutors sought the death penalty for Martin Gonzalez. But the jury said no. "Sometimes juries disagree with us and sometimes we disagree with them," says Earle. "We disagreed strongly with the jury in that case."