Looking for the Truth Shouldn’t Cost Friendships

Maybe you have been following the David Temple case. Maybe you haven’t. In short, David Temple was convicted of killing his wife in a totally circumstantial cold case prosecuted by Kelly Siegler, former Harris County Assistant District Attorney turned semi-celebrity on TNT’s Cold Justice.

In case you hadn’t followed the events here is what you need to know: prior assistant district attorneys and grand juries declined to indict or charge David Temple in this murder. Eventually, Kelly Siegler reviewed the case and obtained an indictment. She tried the case and David was convicted. On direct appeal, the court affirmed the conviction. David has always maintained innocence and his lawyers (Dick DeGuerin, Stanley Schneider, and Casie Gotro) always believed there was more than what the prosecutor revealed. In particular, there were alternate suspects which were not fully disclosed to the defense – in violation of the law. Fast forward, the alternate suspects started to percolate and develop years later. When a special prosecutor (appointed by then District Attorney Pat Lykos) and District Attorney Investigator Steve Clappart started reviewing the case and the alternate suspects, BOOM, they lawyered up — with lawyers arranged by Kelly Siegler. Throughout this process, many reports and witnesses were hidden from the defense attorneys. Tapes were denied to be in existence. And, Kelly sought to use influence within friendships at the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement to derail any new investigation.

But that wouldn’t stop Steve Clappart nor John Denholm.

I’m proud to say I’ve known Steve my whole life. He was my uncle’s best friend from high school and thus a close family friend from before I was born. I’m proud to say I’ve known John for a great many years. He worked in Homicide when we first met. He since became an attorney and we were lucky enough to be able to hire him. What I can tell you about both of these men: their word means something. It is with honor that they seek the truth, where ever it may be found. Since 2007, while still working in Homicide, John has been pointing out problems with the prosecution of David Temple.

Fast forward now to the past year or so when David’s current lawyers, Stanley Schneider and Casie Gotro, started investigating and litigating a writ of habeas corpus on David’s behalf. (A writ is a collateral attack on the conviction – not a direct appeal – and can include the introduction of new evidence.)

As Steve and John stood by their convictions, they began to be resented by folks within the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement. How could they dare challenge a conviction? But you see, that’s just it…true friends, worthy friends, respect the process and the pursuit of justice. For their work, I applaud them both.

As John says, “Someone blew this woman’s head off. Why wouldn’t you want to find him?” Why not at least look to see if you got the right guy?

In case you missed it, Lisa Falkenburg, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Houston Chronicle, applauds them too!

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