Earlier this week, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to 3 years in prison after being found guilty on money laundering charges, in a case which had been dragged out since 2005.

Former Democrat State Representative and Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is the man responsible for the public crucifixion of DeLay within the Travis County legal machine.

No surprise that Earle had a vendetta against a powerful conservative such as DeLay, considering he has built a career on witch hunts against Republican officeholders throughout the years.

Earle had attempted to bring charges against then-Texas State Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison for allegedly misusing state telephones and hitting a staffer, but had no evidence to support the charges. Earle’s case against Hutchison was so pathetic that he attempted to withdraw the charges during a pre-trial hearing, but the judge would not allow it, securing a not guilty verdict from a jury. He continued to go after Hutchison after she became a U.S. Senator, but she was acquitted of any charges that Earle could come up with.

For his personal crusade against DeLay, Earle had to shop the money laundering and conspiracy charges to at least seven different grand juries in Travis County before he found one that would be willing to indict DeLay on campaign finance activity that was perfectly legal.

While the situation looks good for DeLay’s appeal, this judicial vendetta orchestrated in the first place by Earle is a remarkably sad day for our court system. Earle’s prosecutorial misconduct ran so rampant that it removed all doubt that DeLay was innocent. If he weren’t, Earle wouldn’t have had to pull the protracted jury-pool antics that he did.

It is not Tom DeLay that needs to be put behind bars, but rather Ronnie Earle. Prosecutors should be held to the highest of standards in their defense of the areas which they represent, and those that use the courtroom as their personal arena for disagreements should be removed from the legal profession permanently.

A lot can also be said about the sheer ignorance of Travis County voters that kept putting Earle back in the district attorney’s office, giving him a green light to use his office as an ideological stake at which to burn Republican officeholders.

You can bet that an ethical prosecutor would not have to go through seven different grand juries before finding one to indict Earle.