Charlie Baird, a former Travis County district judge and former judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals, officially announced Sept. 6 his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for district attorney. He'll be taking on incumbent Rosemary Lehmberg, who was elected to the position in 2008, replacing her longtime former boss Ronnie Earle. Before a crowd of supporters who gathered at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin – and flanked by high-profile supporters Cory Session (whose deceased brother, Tim Cole, was posthumously exonerated by Baird) and Morris Overstreet (Baird's former appeals court colleague) – Baird said he wanted to bring real progress to the county's justice system. Baird vowed to bring a number of reforms to the office – to create a "progressive system" where justice "works for everybody" – including the creation of a prosecution integrity unit to review all claims of wrongful conviction. That unit would be patterned after the Conviction Integrity Division in the Dallas County D.A.'s Office, which has led to dozens of exonerations. Baird said he would hire attorney Mike Ware, who currently heads the Dallas D.A.'s prosecution review team, to lead the new unit.
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