We’ll see how this goes.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Wednesday she will personally lead a review of the case of David Temple, whose conviction of murdering his pregnant wife was overturned by the state’s highest court amid findings of prosecutorial misconduct, before deciding if her office will retry the former Katy football star and Alief high school coach.
Temple, 48, was released from prison Dec. 28, but remains charged with murder in the 1999 shooting death of his wife, Belinda Lucas Temple. He is free on $30,000 bail while the district attorney determines how to proceed.
After a court appearance Wednesday, Temple said he wanted to be declared actually innocent in Belinda Temple’s murder.
His attorney, Stan Schneider, said the review panel will be composed of lawyers and investigators in the DA’s office, two of whom – Steve Clappart and John Denholm – have previously investigated the case and have publicly declared their belief that Temple was innocent.
Schneider said the other two members of the panel are veteran trial prosecutor Donna Cameron, who initially took the Temple case to a grand jury that investigated the allegations without result, and appellate attorney Andrew Smith, who has spent years opposing Temple’s attorneys and arguing that their client is guilty and got a fair trial.
Temple’s defense team said they expect a thorough review from Cameron, Smith, Denholm and Clappart.
“They are quite knowledgeable about the case,” Schneider said.
Ogg and staffers will likely spend months reviewing mountains of evidence from the lengthy investigation and reams of trial transcripts from weeks of testimony before moving forward with a new trial or dismissing the case.
“The district attorney’s office decides whether to pursue criminal charges based on evidence,” Ogg said in a statement. “The David Temple file consists of thousands of pages and it is important to review them thoroughly. I will personally conduct the review.”
Temple’s declaration that he is innocent stands in stark contrast with the beliefs of the family of the victim. The Lucas family have long maintained that Temple is guilty of killing his wife, which is what a Harris County jury determined in 2007.
“They’ve never once doubted what the jury came up with,” said Andy Kahan, with the City of Houston’s Crime Victims Office. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts, from their perspective, that the outcome was correct.”
See here for the background. Ogg is going to be criticized no matter what she chooses to do, so she may as well take her time and reach a decision she’s confident in. Temple’s statement that he wants to be exonerated and will pursue a ruling that he is actually innocent will be a much tougher bar for him to clear. Ogg may reasonably oppose that even if she doesn’t try him again. Like I said, we’ll see what happens.