Thursday, May 18, 2017

David Temple's New Prosecutors

The Houston Chronicle's Brian Rogers reported today that 178th District Court Judge Kelli Johnson has appointed prosecutors Lisa Tanner and Bill Turner from the Texas Attorney General's Office to prosecute the State of Texas vs. Temple.

To say that Judge Johnson's choice is a good one would be a massive understatement.

Lisa has been with the Attorney General's Office for over twenty years and has been their heavy hitter on tough cases across the State.  She most recently handled the retrial of Bernie Tiede, who was the subject of the movie Bernie.  Mr. Tiede is currently serving 99 years thanks to her efforts.  She was also responsible for trying the actual killer for the murder of Michael Morton's wife.  In short, she is a bad ass.

Bill is the former elected District Attorney of Brazos County where he served before retiring in 2012.  I spent two and a half years working as an intern for him when I was at Texas A&M, and I consider him to be a mentor and one of the best trial prosecutors I've ever seen.  I watched him try three death capitals in the course of one summer and he was amazing in them all.

Although Bill and Lisa are well known for their trial skills, they are even more known for their ethical reputations and integrity.  Neither is afraid to try a tough case, nor are they afraid to dismiss it if it proves to be the right thing to do.  Popularity and public opinion won't be a factor when it comes to how they will handle the Temple case.

When Bill was the D.A. of Brazos County, he prosecuted the Chairman of the Board of Regents for Texas A&M, as well as The University's vice-president.  That wasn't exactly a popular move in Aggieland, especially for an elected Democrat in a heavily Republican county, but Bill forged ahead without concern to public opinion or any external matters.  He did what the law dictated.

And he won.

I've always considered him to be the Atticus Finch of prosecution.  In addition to taking on the upper echelon of A&M, Bill also went toe-to-toe with a corrupt sheriff where his own safety was threatened, and he didn't back away from that either.  He's a man that I admire greatly.

Regardless of what happens on the Temple case after today, the rationale for it will be based on evidence and only evidence.  As I mentioned on Twitter, Bill and Lisa are the gold standard when it comes to prosecution and the case could not be in better hands.

Their appointment is an outstanding choice by Judge Johnson.

8 comments:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Hmmm ... Murray, given how much you've blasted her on this, all your columns on the topic could use a line that acknowledges, "I was completely wrong and Kim Ogg did the right thing." Maybe even a "thank you," "good job," or "atta girl" might be appropriate in addition to that mea culpa. The only reason you're writing about the quality of these prosecutors is that you have been trashing the local ones in error, predicting precisely the opposite result. It's not a surprising outcome except for those who believed your spiel.

Murray Newman said...

Hmmm, you should read the blog more, Scott. I did a post on her doing the right thing in my last column.

But surely you aren't naive enough to believe that she would have done this if it hadn't been under intense scrutiny, are you?

If you read other stuff I've written, you'd know that I'm supportive of the vast majority of things that Kim has done with the Administration, and I haven't been shy in saying so. How she handled the Temple case was my one major sticking point. You are being completely disingenuous if you think that case wasn't getting special treatment because of the DeGuerin connection. She punted on almost every other case that had even the slightest connection to her upper Admin, but not when her own chief investigator worked on the case? Give me a break.

If you're accusing me of having tunnel vision on how I regard Kim Ogg, I would suggest to you that this would be the pot calling the kettle . . .

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Scott Henson accusing ANYONE of lacking objectivity? I just snorted my coffee out of my nose and all over my white shirt from laughing so hard! Who do I sent my laundry bill to?

Just Sayin' said...

Murray my dear friend,

It seems your boy Grits missed breakfast this fine morning.

The point he is missing and you so eloquently pointed out was: why in the world did DA Kim Ogg have to "review" the Temple file for sixty (60) days and then yet another sixty (60) days to see whether or not she was going recuse the HCDAO?

Ogg recused her office from every other felony where her new hires posed a conflict without such a "review".
What was the point of the Temple review?

Just Sayin'

Jason Truitt said...

I like you and your work, Scott, but yeah, not only has Murray said multiple times that he hopes for the best with Kim (in a non-cynical way), but he did a whole post on how she did the right thing.

But all of the intermediate posts (what you call him blasting her) about her ethical problems were more than warranted--it was far from clear that she was going to do the right thing in the first place, and there was plenty of stink coming from her office on issues as wide ranging as the fundraiser thrown by Temple's lawyers, to hiring major parts of Temple's defense team, to Ogg saying she was personally reviewing a file that was enormous and never left the office where it was stored and she never visited it, to recusing the office in every major case (and hundreds of minor ones) but this one citing the conflict of interest that existed even more prominently for this one....

And, given the lack of real reporting on this by mainstream media (an issue I know you can relate to), Murray and his cabal's constant reminder that they were watching may be the only reason why this case is where it is today. Given the members of the Temple defense team that Ogg hired for the DA's office, this should have been the FIRST case she recused herself from, not the last.

So if anything, Ogg needs less of an 'atta girl' than a 'we know you would have done something different if you could have, and we'll be keeping an eye on you'.

Anonymous said...

Jason, congratulations on crossing over to the light..............never thought I'd see the day.

Twilight Zoned said...

In spite of all DeGuerin's gold
Brian Rogers working the hustle
Lighting candles for a dismissal
Kimmy Ogg was forced to fold

Casie Gotro's razor blades are getting dull
David Temple's bathroom door
Soon won't be closing anymore
Stanley Schneider's trickery is simply bull

Denholm Clappert and Wee Man Leitner
Throwing an innocent kid under the bus
Trashing the best prosecutor was a must
Cowards did all they could just to spite her

But justice raised her mighty head
The AG's office has been beckoned
Deguerin's folly has been reckoned
The petty bastards will be put to bed

Twilight Zoned

Jason Truitt said...

1:04, given that my opinions haven't changed, maybe the shift signals you coming over to my side? It's pretty fun over here in the dark. Welcome.