Lawyers in Death Row Case Accuse Kelly Siegler of Withholding Evidence
Deja vu all over again.
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Lawyers for a man on death row for a 1994 murder say that ex-Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler, under fire for withholding evidence in a high-profile murder case, also withheld vital evidence in theirs, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Howard Guidry was one of three men convicted in the contract-killing of the estranged wife of a Missouri City police officer; his conviction was overturned, along with the officer's, "for conduct by Siegler," according to the Chron's Monday must-read story, which explains in alarming detail how Siegler withheld ballistics and fingerprint evidence, as well as changes in witness testimony.
A federal appeals court ruled that Guidry's police statement was coerced, and Siegler was found to have "admitted unlawful confessions into evidence and used hearsay evidence."
Incredibly, according to the story, "Siegler was able to again get the inadmissible evidence in front of the jury when Guidry was retried."
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John Neeleman, one of Guidry's attorneys, told the Chron, "The very same evidence that prompted the 5th Circuit to reverse, came right in. [Siegler] had absolutely no conscience about it."
The Chron also quoted Anthony Graves, a death row exoneree who Siegler, working as a special prosecutor, said was innocent. Graves "knew Guidry in passing while the two did time on death row, but Graves got to read the voluminous court records after he was released," the Chron reports. "He then became an advocate for Guidry."
"It needs to be retried," Graves told the Chron. "He needs a fair trial. Whether he's innocent or guilty, it doesn't matter if he didn't get a fair trial."
Guidry's lawyers "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 [David Temple] case," according to the Chron.
Siegler, who left the Harris County District Attorney's Office in 2008 and stars in the TNT reality series "Cold Justice," was the subject of a stinging finding by a visiting state judge who presided over a habeas hearing regarding her work in the 2007 David Temple murder case. Judge Larry Gist found that Siegler withheld exculpatory evidence in that case and recommended that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grant Temple a new trial. That decision is pending.
Siegler has not commented on Gist's findings, and has yet to respond to reporters' requests for comment.
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