Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said she will postpone making a decision on retrying David Temple for murder for at least 60 days.
A hearing on the Temple matter is scheduled for Friday, a day after Ogg will attend a fundraiser co-hosted by two of Temple's original defense attorneys.
Ogg announced the decision to the Houston Chronicle Monday, after declining to discuss the matter with the Houston Press, which had sought comment about the fundraiser and the hearing last week.
"Elected officials from the White House to the courthouse accept political contributions and the law requires us to disclose them and that keeps the process transparent," Ogg told the Chronicle. "But my decision's not for sale. Never has been. Never will be...I want to assure the public that I am committed to an evidence-based style of prosecution and that's what drives me. That's why a thorough review of the evidence is so important."
Andy Kahan of the Mayor's Crime Victims Office also issued a statement on behalf of the family of Belinda Temple: "There is no doubt in our minds that David Temple is guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Belinda and her unborn 8 month-old baby Erin. In light of the current situation we firmly believe that it is best for all concerned that an independent prosecutor be appointed to give a semblance of fairness and balance. The evidence that was used to convict Temple remains the same, therefore there is no legitimate reason not to try him again."
Strangely, the Chronicle story includes defense attorney Kent Schaffer's opinion on the Temple case, despite the fact that he wasn't involved with it. In addition to citing the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that prosecutor Kelly Siegler delayed or withheld the disclosure of evidence, Schaffer alleged that there was "paltry evidence" and "information that was never followed up on."
Like other casual observers of the Temple case, Schaffer seems to be conflating the CCA's decision with the notion of actual innocence, or the lack of evidence against Temple. In addition to reading Judge Kevin Year's opinion, which we've included in previous stories, people curious about the matter should check out true-crime author Kathryn Casey's open letter to Ogg. (Casey is the author of the 2010 book Shattered, about the Temple case.)
As ill-informed as Schaffer may be of the subject matter, even he said he thought Ogg should recuse herself. For many lawyers, it appears a staggeringly obvious choice for Ogg to make.
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