Criminal Justice

Did 'legendary' former prosecutor withhold evidence in multiple cases?

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Earlier this month, a state-court judge recommended a new trial for a Texas man found guilty in 2007 of killing his pregnant wife.

That’s because Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler withheld exculpatory evidence that would have made a difference in David Temple’s trial, said Judge Larry Gist. “Of enormous significance was the prosecutor’s testimony at the habeas hearing that apparently favorable evidence did not need to be disclosed if the state did not believe it was true,” the judge said in his written opinion.

However, the district attorney’s office plans to challenge his ruling, reports the Houston Chronicle (sub. req.), which refers to Siegler as a “legendary prosecutor.”

Now appellate lawyers representing a convicted murderer in an unrelated case, Howard Guidry, are contending that Siegler used similar tactics when she twice prosecuted him. Siegler not only withheld exculpatory evidence, the lawyers say, but in a retrial relied on inadmissible evidence that had been nixed by a federal appeals court after Guidry’s first conviction.

“We are alleging the same acts, independent of the Temple case,” pro bono attorney Gwendolyn Payton told the Houston Chronicle (sub. req.). “We didn’t even know about the Temple case until that ruling.”

Siegler left the DA’s office in 2008 after successfully prosecuting 68 murder trials. In 2013, she began starring in a reality series on TNT called Cold Justice, now in its third season. Siegler hasn’t responded to Chronicle requests for comment since the Temple ruling by Gist earlier this month.

See also: “Former prosecutor starts new gig on reality series ‘Cold Justice’”

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