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More allegations against Kelly Siegler

Here they come.

Kelly Siegler

Howard Guidry was 18 years old when he was charged being the triggerman in a 1994 murder-for-hire case that involved a Missouri City police officer and his estranged wife. Twice he was convicted and sent to death row, and both times the prosecutor who sent him there was Kelly Siegler, the legendary Houston attorney who has been accused of withholding evidence in another high-profile murder case.

Now Guidry’s attorneys are saying she used the same tactics when she prosecuted their client, both in the original trial, which was overturned on appeal, and again when he was retried.

“Here it is – the same patterns and practices,” said Gwendolyn Payton, a lawyer at Lane Powell PC, a Seattle law firm that took on Guidry’s case pro bono. “And how many more are out there? It’s just really troubling.”

In the wake of District Judge Larry Gist’s ruling earlier this month, which said Siegler withheld evidence in the trial of David Temple and recommended a new trial for the Katy man, lawyers for Guidry are preparing to file amendments to a 2013 appeal explaining how her behavior in Guidry’s case is similar to what she did in the Temple case.

“We are alleging the same acts, independent of the Temple case,” Payton said. “We didn’t even know about the Temple case until that ruling.”

[…]

There are several striking resemblances between the Brady material that was not released in Temple’s 2007 trial and Guidry’s two death penalty trials, including evidence of other suspects and exculpatory evidence about the murder weapon.

In what may be the most damning example, Guidry’s lawyers were never told that crime scene investigators found fingerprints that were not Guidry’s on Farah Fratta’s car door and front fender where the shooter would have stood. The fingerprints were from another man who resembled Guidry and was friends with one of the suspects in the case.

The fingerprints that were found next to the body of the estranged wife were never disclosed to Guidry’s defense lawyers. The man resembling Guidry, who was part of the ring of suspects in the case, was never charged. Police investigating the slaying found human blood in the car he owned, which matched the description of the getaway car that witnesses saw, including having only one headlight.

In an appeal with hundreds of pages of arguments and sworn affidavits, Guidry’s lawyers allege numerous instances of misconduct. They contend Siegler hid the identity of the suspect resembling Guidry, his fingerprints and the fact that there was blood on the seat of his car.

In the Temple ruling, Gist took Siegler to task after she testified that Brady material did not need to be disclosed if she didn’t believe it.

“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,” Gist wrote.

Lawyers for Guidry say the investigation of the man whose fingerprints were found is just one of the many pieces of evidence that was withheld.

“The trial counsel for sure never got that evidence,” Payton said. “It should have been disclosed under Brady, I don’t think anyone can argue unless you’re using the ‘Kelly Siegler rule’ that she didn’t find it credible.”

See here for some background. I vaguely remember this case, though I don’t recall any details or that there was a controversy about how the trial was conducted. As such, I have no insight as to the merit of these allegations. I do think the so-called “Kelly Siegler rule” is wrong and cannot be allowed to serve as a standard for what qualifies as Brady material. I don’t know what the standard should be, but it needs to be more inclusive than what the prosecution thinks the defense might need. I hope the generally prosecution-friendly Court of Criminal Appeals can provide some better guidance, because I strongly suspect Kelly Siegler isn’t the only prosecutor, and David Temple and Howard Guidry aren’t the only defendants, to whom this would need to apply. Hair Balls has more.

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7 Comments

  1. Don Hooper says:

    Steve H is not going to like this one bit. Just think there is 66 more murder files to go through.

  2. Steven Houston says:

    As there are ample similarities in some of the cases she tried, why shouldn’t they be looked at? The standards of the courts change regularly and if a change means someone gets another bite at the apple of freedom, so be it. Just because I think Siegler on her worst day is a better prosecutor or lawyer than either your wife or Lykos (who never did prosecute any cases as I recall) on their very best day by a margin of 10x, does not mean her work is above scrutiny.

  3. Paul Kubosh says:

    Steven,

    You sure are attacking Rachel way to hard. You are getting way to personal and it is embarrassing. Just my opinion.

  4. Don Hooper says:

    Paul,
    SteveH is about to have more bad news. My guess is that he knows it. Hiding behind fake names, real embarrassing.

  5. Eddie V says:

    She’s got a lot of friends in her side. Hopefully that won’t put sunglasses on her powerful friends. To think she could have been our DA. One shudders at how many cases need reviewed.

  6. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steve Houston, what is the purpose of attacking Don Hooper’s wife? I am Manuel Barrera. Who are you?

  7. Steven Houston says:

    PK, some of us feel strongly about public figures engaged in particular activities. You never seem to shy away from skewering the actions of such figures but if it bothers you enough that you are embarrassed, by all means I won’t say another word unless provoked or Charles runs an article about the BAT scandal that took down a regime.

    MB, it ties in the whole mess on several levels. I believe that the Temple case was given all sorts of “special consideration” due to the fact that Siegler was a political opponent of Lykos, the small group in the DA’s office trying to use it as a means of truncating a second run by the popular ADA given just how close the initial vote was (Siegler won and then lost in the runoff). As every opinion I stated regarding that regime was based on the public record and ongoing headline news, it includes key personnel that contributed to key policy decisions that were contrary to the public interest, a certain self proclaimed energy trader out of his mind if he thinks that is outside the scope of protected speech. Regardless, PK doesn’t like his buddies held up to scrutiny so I’ll give her a pass and make it a non-issue just as I don’t reply to the spouse.