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Ex parte Temple

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

December 31, 2019

EX PARTE DAVID MARK TEMPLE

          On Appeal from the 178th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1642706

          Panel consists of Justices Zimmerer, Spain, and Hassan

          OPINION

          MEAGAN HASSAN, JUSTICE

         Applicant appeals the judgment in the underlying habeas corpus action. Tex.R.App.P. 33.1. The trial court set bond at $1, 000, 000 after a jury found applicant guilty but was unable to reach an agreement on punishment. The trial court declared a mistrial as to the punishment phase of trial. Applicant is currently incarcerated awaiting the new punishment phase of trial. On appeal, applicant contends the amount of bond set by the trial court is excessive.

         Background

         On August 6, 2019, a jury convicted applicant of murdering his pregnant wife in 1999, a first-degree felony.[1] On August 9, 2019, the jury was unable to reach an agreement on applicant's punishment during their deliberations after the punishment phase of trial. Over applicant's objection, the trial court declared a mistrial as to the punishment phase only. Applicant was taken into custody.

         On August 14, 2019, applicant filed an application for writ of habeas corpus requesting that bond be set in the amount of $30, 000. On August 30, 2019, the trial court held a hearing on the habeas corpus request. Before either side presented evidence, the trial court stated that it believed applicant was entitled to bond and that it should be set at $1, 000, 000. The defense presented testimony of five witnesses. The State requested that the court take judicial notice of the State's evidence presented during the trial and did not present additional evidence at the hearing. After listening to testimony and arguments by counsel, the trial court ruled that bond would be set at $1, 000, 000.

         During the hearing, applicant presented the testimony of (1) the bail bondsman who secured applicant's bond pending trial, (2) applicant's brother, and (3) three of applicant's friends.

         John Burns, the bail bondsman, testified that applicant's bond pending trial was $30, 000. Applicant attended all his pretrial hearings and complied with conditions of his bond. Burns testified his company was willing to post a "reasonable bond" for applicant a second time.

         Applicant's brother, Darin Temple, testified that applicant was caring for their elderly parents while he was out on bond pending trial. According to Darin, applicant has been a "massive help" because both of their parents have failing health requiring substantial care. While out on bail pending trial, applicant started a non-profit called Freedom Rising. Darin testified that the maximum he believed his family could raise for applicant's bond would be enough to secure a $50, 000 bond. According to Darin, applicant has no assets other than a vehicle, which he estimated to be worth about $12, 000.

         Bonnie Taylor testified that through her prison outreach ministry, she worked with applicant while he was incarcerated and after he was released and on bond pending trial. She described applicant as "a man of integrity." Taylor explained that applicant drew a small stipend from Freedom Rising. She estimated the stipend to be between seven hundred and eight hundred dollars a month.

         Shay Tidwell testified that she has been friends with applicant for twenty years. According to Tidwell, applicant is not a threat to the community. Tidwell would trust her children and her life with applicant. Tidwell opined that applicant is not a flight risk and would abide by any condition of bond imposed upon him.

         Analysis

         The State does not argue that the jury's finding of guilt deprives applicant of his right to bail, thus we do not address that issue. We will address only whether the trial ...


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