A Central Texas prosecutor this week was fired for allegedly making racially insensitive remarks to a prospective juror. Steve Brand reportedly compared the woman's NAACP membership to a white supremacist group.
A statement from the office of Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg says "The Court made a finding that a potential juror was struck based on racial reasons, which required her to dismiss the entire jury panel."
Lehmberg's statement went on to say "citizens need to know that membership in the NAACP does not disqualify them from jury service."
Brand's attorney Tom Nesbitt calls his client's termination unjust, bizarre and retaliation.
"A month or two earlier, he cooperated in a Texas Rangers investigation into some things that went on the DA's office," Nesbitt tells KTRH News.
"Mr. Brand was seeking justice for an African-American crime victim," he says. "He would have had no reason whatsoever, and in fact did not strike a prospective juror because of her race."
However, Houston attorney Steven "Rocket" Rosen agrees with the DA's decision.
"Whether you're an assistant district attorney, or whether you're a criminal defense lawyer, in fact any type of lawyer, even a civil lawyer, that can't be tolerated. There's no room for that," says Rosen.
"If I felt that the prosecutor was using race as a reason to strike jurors, I would make that known to a judge," he says. "In my years of defending people accused of crimes, I have not come across that.”