Television personality Kelly Siegler is under fire this month for what critics are saying is a history of unethical conduct as a prosecutor, including the hiding of evidence in capital punishment cases. After a career as a Harris County prosecutor, Siegler became the star in a reality series on TNT called Cold Justice, now in its third season. Siegler’s allegedly checkered history as a prosecutor is reminiscent of the controversy surrounding Nancy Grace, who was denounced an an unethical prosecutor who violated the rights of accused persons but has been retained by CNN as a show host and legal commentator.
This month, a state court ordered a new trial for a man convicted in 2007 due to unethical conduct of Siegler in withholding exculpatory evidence that would have made a difference in David Temple’s trial. Judge Larry Gist noted that “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.” Thus, Siegler asserted that she would only reveal evidence if she was convinced that it was not just exculpatory but true — a very dangerous standard that would allow the withholding of a wide array of evidence.
Gist detailed an astonishing 36 instances of unethical conduct by Siegler.
Siegler is also accused of the same unethical conduct in the case of Howard Guidry when she twice convicted him. In many of these instances, it is hard to imagine a plausible excuse by Siegler. For example, Siegler never revealed to Guidry’s lawyers that crime scene investigators found fingerprints that were not Guidry’s on the victim’s car door and front fender. That is precisely where the police thought the shooter would have stood. Not only did the fingerprints belong to a suspect in the case but the man actually resembled Guidry.
A federal appeals court has ruled in the Guidry case police coerced an incriminating statement and Siegler was found to have “admitted unlawful confessions into evidence and used hearsay evidence.”
Siegler had 68 murder trials and now attorneys are examining all of those cases.
Siegler has already been required to appear as a witness and insisted that all of key evidence was made available to the defense. She insisted to the media that “I am always aggressive, but as far as withholding evidence, exculpatory information, Brady evidence, that did not happen.”
Source: ABA Journal
57 thoughts on “Cold Injustice? TNT Star Kelly Siegler Accused of a Pattern Of Prosecutorial Misconduct”
To those who believe Kelly stepped over a line while prosecuting Temple or just doing her job in general, allow me to put Kelly’s defense in words you will understand: You’re wrong.
You’re just wrong. Say what you will about me and my relationship with her to justify my point of view but your arguments will have no solid base. She and I have never met, and I know her feet are planted firmly in clay. What I also know is Kelly serves justice. She is a crusader for victims. She has never needed to cheat to win. The preparation she puts in for every case is mind-boggling.
As for the Temple case, and every other case she has ever prosecuted, she shared every piece of exculpatory Brady she had at her disposal. I do wonder if Gist was even paying attention to what was being presented to him. For example, at one point he ruled she withheld the layout of David Temple’s garage from David Temple! Yeah…serious stuff right there.
Speaking of Gist’s attention span, most of his findings are directly contradicted by the record of the trial and/or the habeas hearing. If he had been awake, maybe he would have noticed his first set of findings had no citations to the record and that Finding #37, which Gist had denied, had been submitted surreptitiously by Schneider and Gotro, Team Temple. There’s a discussion of ethics.
Kelly did her job in an ethical, moral manner, like always. I’ve read the trial and the habeas hearing transcripts. She’s going to be fine. Oh, by the way, so will her show.
“He who alleges must prove.”The above comments simply accuse-they do not prove anything. Surely Ms Siegel is entitled to a rebuttal. Might male detractors be driven by an unconscious stream of anti-feminism?
Is it likely that misconduct explains her long string of successes? might this be a huge source of professional envy? Give the lady a break!
“48HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE” on TLC revisited the Temple case tonight (04.16.16), and as the original CBS broadcast of correspondent Richard Schlesinger’s did, I was incensed by Ms.Siegler’s profound arrogance and absolute unwillingness to even entertain the reporter’s reasonable questions. Ms. Siegler’s prosecutorial Kool-aid must be pretty strong stuff, judging by the fervent (but I suspect rapidly diminishing) base of supporters decrying the commenters pointing out the obvious. Those supporters, I suspect, are basing their judgement and conclusions on a first hand, personal relationship with Siegler’s, and therefore they lack true objectivity. The woman has done good things over the course of her career as a prosecutor. But at some point, she decided the ongoing burnishing of her legal reputation was a greater goal than serving the cause of Justice. Her sex has nothing to do with the issues in play, other than to prove that a woman can behave as badly as a man; congratulations, fairer sex, you have arrived. But hubris is the fatal flaw that has felled Captains and Kings since the Stone Age. Ms. Siegler’s story is far from novel. But it does put a fresh face on mankind’s Achilles heal. Cold Justice is done without a recast (season four is still not on TNT’s schedule), and Siegler is toxic, for the time being. She should fry; if she ran up against herself in court, she would, though it would likely be a dirty case.
Kelly Siegler, in my opinion, is a liar and a douchebag, who obviously has no respect for laws, due process or truth in any capacity. Prosecuting cases is nothing more than a tennis game, and she apparently, will do anything to win. Forget about credible evidence if it contradicts her case–she’ll bury it.
My only hope is that one day soon, her house of cards will collapse, and she will get disbarred, as well as prosecuted. This dragon belongs behind bars, sentenced as harshly as the innocent victims she ruined.
I have just watched the 48 hours episode (I am not in the US so had not heard of this case before). Being someone who is interested in the judicial system I have seen Ms Siegler prosecute before. And have seen her aggressive style. I make no judgements about that and her belief in her tenacity to ‘find justice’ for victims if that is truly what she did. But in this case it is clear she behaved totally inappropriately by withholding a LOT of information to the defence team. You have to wonder if there is a time when people become desensitised and start to just want to WIN and no longer cares if the defendant is actually guilty. Once you behave unethicallyyou need to retire, Which I believe she has – or rather moved to REALITY TV. I am glad all other cases are also being reviewed. I DO believe that David Temple is innocent. Not just by watching 48 hours but after doing more reading on this case. The defence team and the lawyer formerly on the prosecution side clearly are passionate about this case and the injustice that occured. I am so very sorry for both Belinda and David.
Graduating from a prestigious law school, that requires studying hard and scoring high when tested, can prepare a young lawyer for a wonderfully successful career. Having ethics is not taught in school. It is in us at birth and should be nourished by one’s parents and early childhood educators. She missed out on those lessons.
Everyone is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The evidence must be followed in order to find the truth. Exculpatory evidence must not be suppressed from the view of judge, jury or defendants, if justice is to be served.
Anyone who seeks to stray outside the ethical rules of justice should not be permitted to serve the justice system.
Siegler personified some of the disturbing qualities of the state justice system in America.
Kelly Siegler deserves to be exposed for the damage she and her colleagues have wreaked on the justice system, whereby circumstances were controlled in the way that defence attorney’s are denied details of investigations. As an example, in the Temple case over 1000 pages of documents were denied scrutiny, in what was a blatant denial of justice, and a reason why innocent people can be easily put away for life in capital cases.
She, not unlike many other representatives of the state, investigated and represented cases with a blinkered approach, prosecuting for the sake of winning, with a blinkered approach, failing to investigate the entirety of “evidence”.
Do not take my word for it, have a close look at cases Seigler has represented in; chart the many instances of misconduct in respect of denying full disclosure of evidence for all to see.
Siegler was not ethical in conduct, nor worthy of her office.
Prosecutor misconduct is one of the worst sins a lawyer can do. If you are sworn to uphold the Constitution, you are at direct odds with the oath.
I am not a legal scholar, but the comment was made by someone else that THE JURY CONVICTED THE MURDERER.. However, if the prosecution withheld pages and pages of information from the defense, the jury might have reached a different conclusion after having ALL the information to which it was entitled.
When the prosecuting attorney says she only reveals evidence to the defense if she is convinced it was not just exculpatory, but true………no wonder pages and pages of information were not given to the defense. She, in her infinite wisdom and having no bias (what??) deemed them UNTRUE. So she has now assumed the role of not only prosecutor, but “supreme decision-maker” as to what the jury should hear and see!!
I sincerely believe the defendant should be granted another trial, so that the jury is able to make a just decision after having heard and seen all the evidence allowed by law.
This woman needs someone to review her right to practice law! I would love to see her personaly held accountable and charaged!
Bruce taking your job seriously and doing a crap job. She does not seem to be a very intelligent woman and to me she’s just a dirty lawyer. Some I am sure are good and true, she is just dirty. Watching her cover her tracks is interesting to say the least. A true good prosecutor would look for who was truly guilty not just who she wants to be guilty.
@Jenne,you’re right,but it doesn’t mean their innocent either. Kelly just puts these hot shot defense attorneys to shame in the courtroom through facts in evidence.Kelly is an officer of the court and as such she takes/took her job very seriously.
Kelly Siegler would never withhold exculpatory evidence. She was a very skilled prosecutor that made many,many high profile defense attorneys look like first year law students.
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