Cops’ story v. Reyna’s – ‘Someone’s lying…’

Houston lawyer predicts DA’s entire office will be disqualified…

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Paul Looney of Looney and Conrad called out cops’ and DA’s veracity

BULLETIN: Attorney F. Clinton Broden, who is representing Matthew Alan Clendennen of the Scimitars MC, reached us to say, “Just so it is clear, I will write my own brief for Judge Johnson. While I am happy to accept any suggestions from Mr. Conrad or anybody else who would like to contribute, the ultimate work product will be mine. I do not allow other attorneys to ghostwrite briefs for me.”

Hempstead, TX – Appeals attorney Clay Conrad will prepare the legal brief for disqualification of Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna in the Twin Peaks massacre of May 17, 2015.

The principal partner in his firm, Paul Looney, volunteered his services, which the attorneys representing the defendants in the motion readily accepted. He noted his firm did the research and initial draft of the motion.

Looney predicted the likely outcome by saying, “Reyna is in serious danger of having his entire office disqualified from all Waco biker cases.”

The central point in the argument is that Reyna became a “necessary witness” when he took charge of the investigation and made the decision as to what charges to file against suspects. He cannot legally do both jobs – serve as an investigator and prosecutor simultaneously – under the rules of criminal procedure.

He further called into question the veracity of the testimony heard in a Monday hearing into the matter, saying “Either all of the police are lying, or, Reyna is. There is no way to reconcile the contradictions. Somebody is telling abject lies.”

Looney pointed the finger of blame at Reyna, saying Reyna caused 177 people to be arrested “even though not one Waco Police official agreed with the appropriateness of such an over-the-top course of action.” He added that “no valid theory in law supports the extreme actions taken at Reyna’s instruction following the Twin Peaks episode last year.

“A horrible situation was made much worse. I can only attribute Reyna’s decisions to extreme ambition. It had nothing to do with seeking justice,” said Looney. “Seeking justice, as we all know, is the only thing any District Attorney has the power to do.”

In predicting a favorable ruling in a “couple of months,” Looney termed illegal the mass Twin Peaks arrests and identical charges of engaging in organized criminal activity following a gang fight between rival motorcycle clubs and a police massacre of the assailants with assault rifles.

Evidence that emerged in testimony included then Police Chief Brent Stroman’s account of giving permission in a long distance phone call from the east coast to make the arrests because he thought Reyna meant he could obtain convictions for capital murder. All the police who were there said they thought they were doing an investigation of capital murder cases in officer-involved shootings.

Each in turn gave testimony that reflected their memory being that they were identifying potential witnesses to the melee in preparation for their release. They further agreed in their testimony that when Reyna and members of his staff arrived at the Waco Convention Center, he instructed them they were to arrest every person with either a Bandidos, Cossacks, or support club patch on their clothing. They also said the affidavit of warrantless arrest, identical in every case, had been prepared members of Reyna’s staff.

On the other hand, Assistant District Attorney Mark Parker recalled that it looked as though the detainees were “under arrest” because their hands were restrained by zip-tie temporary handcuffs. “It didn’t look like they were free to go,” he said. He also noted that none of the detainees had been advised of their rights.

Reyna’s testimony, which was vague and included much ado about what he did not recall, was to the effect that he was convinced that Manuel Chavez, the detective who signed an affidavit of warrantless arrest,  either had already, or would assure himself that the allegations in the sworn affirmation were true, though he had no personal knowledge of the events because he was not there.

Reyna further testified that he urged Chavez to take pains to verify the information.

Chavez when re-called to the witness stand, admitted that he did not do any such thing, that he never talked to Reyna.

“In any event, Looney is of the opinion, based on the evidence in the Monday hearing, that Reyna’s grandiosity resulted in the illegal arrest of most of the people facing charges as a result of the Twin Peaks mess.

Detectives noted during the hearing that the cases of suspected capital murder that occurred on May 17, 2015 at Twin Peaks restaurant at a meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents are still open case, the subject of ongoing investigation.

Outlaw stew, good for the soul, common as dirt

CUE THE BACKGROUND SINGER, MAESTRO – THE TIME IS NOW

Six Shooter Junction – Now the time has come for remembrance of things thought long lost and in the past.

BE IT KNOWN TO ONE AND ALL: There is a particular place in McLennan County, Texas, where the people forgot the meaning of the terms of outlawry. They began to think of that vernacular status as that of a swashbuckling badass, someone pulling off spectacular and outrageous offenses – seemingly for sport – and not just some miserable little man, all alone within this world, placed outside the protection of the law, the peace and dignity of We The People.

But the cruelty of this jest came back to haunt them on a dog day Monday morning when the powers that be came on to be heard about the price in gold and relative worth of a human soul.

A quirk of the federal law of Reconstruction laid down by conquerors following that most vicious form of war, that of brother against brother, allowed the outlaw to seek redress in money damages for the alleged violation of his civil rights by those who in the dim mists of antiquity were once and forever quaintly known as The King’s Men.

Most people sneer at and ignore the fact that the law underpinning this legal action is known as the Magna Carta, signed at the conclusion of a battle by an English King on pain of the threat of having his head cut off then and there by members of the nobility.

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The Magna Carta, 1215

The fact that they obtained their victory by fighting on ground of their own choosing pales in contrast to what would have happened had they failed.

On Monday morning, August 8, 2016, in the 54th Criminal District Courtroom, every police officer who testified as to just who made the decision at the scene of a battle in which men dressed in distinctive costumes of allegedly outlaw motorcycle gangs had walked into an L-shaped ambush laid by police officers equipped with state of the art “assault rifles” to arrest everyone present on the non-specific conspiracy charge of engaging in organized criminal activity had not been made by anyone present at the scene of the alleged crime or the investigative headquarters.

The Chief of Police when consulted by long distance phone had no personal knowledge of what had taken place, nor did the detective who signed the affidavit of warrantless arrest declaring his sworn affirmation of probable cause. He was working another case, elsewhere, and had been summoned as the “on call” officer.

The acting chief of police testified that he would not have made the decision to arrest everyone present wearing the distinctive emblem of a member of the Cossacks or Bandidos or any of their numerous support clubs, that he and his men were in the middle of conducting an investigation of capital murder in an officer-involved shooting.

In fact, the chief of police affirmed that he misunderstood the charge under discussion. He thought the District Attorney was talking about the charge of capital murder when he gave his  assent.

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Throughout this testimony, a rangy outfit scribbled notes on pieces of legal pad torn from his tablet and passed them to the defendant Matthew Clendennen, who was seated at the rail inside the bar in the well of the courtroom. Don Tittle, the Dallas torts attorney associated with F. Clinton Broden, Clendennen’s criminal defense lawyer, would make an observation, and Broden would ask the question that placed that fact or remark on the record of the hearing into what personal or professional pecuniary interest did the District Attorney have in the case that should lead to his disqualification as a prosecutor.

Like a specter from a world unseen, Tittle stalked from his place in the gallery to the bar, totally ignored and unremarked by judge, witness, attorney, spectator, bailiff, and the like.

And yet, every time he rose to his feet and propelled his lanky frame across the room, some new revelation would take place.

You might say he’s a team player, one who extracted a $2 million judgment from the County of McLennan in federal court for the violation of the civil rights of Deputy Sheriff’s Officers in 2014.

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Don Tittle, heralded as one of Dallas’ top-notch civil rights lawyers

In a final confrontation with reality, the detective who did make an affirmation upon his oath was called back to the witness stand, questioned under redirect examination if he had received instructions from the District Attorney to make dead sure that he had personal knowledge of the allegation, or could testify as to what he based his belief upon as a result of his consultation with fellow officers.

He said, “I never talked to him.”

Abel Reyna, the elected official, the Criminal District Attorney of McLennan County who had answered in the affirmative that he is the chief law enforcement officer in his jurisdiction,  had earlier testified that he had instructed him to assure himself before signing the affidavit by making phone calls or consulting with his fellow officers that he could testify of his personal knowledge of the allegation, non-specific as to details of that offense and leveled against 177 persons in identical specification of a non-specific offense against the peace and dignity of We The People.

Somewhere, the souls of men both great and small, long gone and perhaps forgotten, men who placed their lives and the lives of their families, their wives and children on the line, turned to one another either in Heaven, or in Hell, smiled and winked at one another in a world storied in myth and Holy Writ, a world unseen.

As the parties walked away from the Courthouse in the one hundred – plus degree heat of a dog day afternoon, Don Tittle was standing near the steps, arranging to meet yet another defense attorney at his office in the Liberty Building to discuss representation of a Twin Peaks defendant for violation of his civil rights.

So mote it be.

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‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people  peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…”

‘He gave Abel Reyna the keys to his badge…’

Anastasio

Abigail Anastasio’s questions about potential  multimillion dollar judgments against DA Abel Reyna  that would have to be satisfied by taxpayers compelled the judge to have them answered in writing

CAPITAL MURDER INVESTIGATION STILL OPEN, COPS SAY

Waco – When District Attorney Abel Reyna ordered the arrest of everyone wearing a motorcycle club patch or the patch of a supporter club, he aborted a capital murder investigation that is still open, according to a top cop.

Robert Lanning, acting Waco Chief of Police on May 17, 2015, told lawyers  today that if it had been his decision to make, he would not have arrested en mass every person at Twin Peaks following a police massacre of bikers fighting with fists and guns.

As the day-long hearing of a motion to disqualify District Attorney Abel Reyna and members of his staff unfolded, testimony revealed now retired Chief of Police Brent Stroman allowed the DA to make all decisions as to how to proceed with arrests and charging suspects after Reyna told him in a long distance phone call that he could stand before a judge and jury and convict every person who attended a political meeting that erupted in gunfire and fist fighting.

Stroman testified that he thought Reyna meant he could obtain convictions for capital murder, and he gave his consent.

Further testimony from police officers who were there at Twin Peaks Restaurant and at an impromptu emergency headquarters at the Waco Convention Center revealed that none of the persons detained for questioning had been advised of their rights under the law against self incrimination.

When Assistant District Attorney  Mark Parker discovered this, he said, he was surprised.  He agreed with Reyna’s attorney that any information thus obtained would have been rendered “worthless” in prosecution.

“They appeared to us to be under arrest because they were wearing zip ties (temporary handcuffs)…It didn’t appear to us they were free to leave.”

They had not been read their procedural rights and their statements were not recorded, he declared.

One busload of Cossacks and their supporters had been transported by city bus to Lacy Lakeview for release and another filled with Bandidos and their supporters were hauled to the Lorena Police Department.

Reyna testified that the police felt it was necessary to separate them by miles due to a threat of further violence.

At that point, Parker said, Reyna, First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Jarrett, Assistant DA Sterling Harmon and he called the investigators into a room to get everyone on “the same page.”

Those who had been released were called back and arrested, and the decision to arrest all who wore patches of Bandidos, Cossacks or their support clubs was put into motion.

Assistant Chief Lanning testified that none of the assistant chiefs agreed, and that no one in law enforcement agreed with the decision, either.

In rambling, hostile testimony, an angry Reyna mumbled that “I do not recall that…” to most questions put to him by F. Clinton Broden, attorney for Matthew Clendennen of the Scimitars support club of the Cossacks, and Abigail Anastasio, attorney for Ray Nelson of the Hill County Cossacks.

In response to Anastasio’s questioning about his exposure to liability both professional and personal in civil rights suits, he fairly shouted, “I don’t care if you take the food out of my son’s mouth. I’m not worried about the threat of a lawsuit. I’ve read the lawsuit. I can tell you the allegations are false…I don’t care. I’m going to do the right thing.”

When the lawyers tried to call attorneys representing Reyna on behalf of the Texas Association of Counties, the lead litigator objected on grounds of attorney-client privilege.

54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson sidestepped the issue in public exposure by ordering the attorneys to ask their questions in writing in order to learn if McLennan County taxpayers will be liable for judgments in excess of the $500,000 liability insurance covers, or if Reyna will be personally liable.

He ordered them to brief their cases and turn them in .

Knowledgeable observers predicted a ruling should come within two months.

 

 

‘RE: President of the day’

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“Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation.” – Quote from an e-mail by a top McLennan Community College executive regarding difficulties with John Wells, M.D.

Waco – E-mails that circulated between college officials about student statements regarding allegations of sexual harassment by former County Jail Doctor John Wells expose a total lack of confidentiality.

No one mentioned getting an opinion from the Open Records Division of the State Attorney General’s Office; likewise, no one voiced any objection whatsoever to turning over the sensitive information that is protected by federal law from disclosure to Waco Tribune-Herald Staff Writer Tommy Witherspoon for a news story about why Wells resigned his $330,000 a year position at the end of April.

OFFICIALS MADE AWARE OF ALLEGATIONS…

In fact, the flow of message traffic shows the chain of command at the college and at the McLennan County Jail were aware of the allegations made by students, and had been furnished with the materials in defiance – or perhaps ignorance – of federal law.

On February 19, Vocational Nursing Program Director Kim Sales-McGee e-mailed her boss: “I have all student statements and they are signed. Do you want me to email a copy to you? The meeting yesterday went well. I met with Captain Ricky Armstrong and the County HR (human resources) Director Amanda Talbert. They were very disturbed by what they read from the students. They informed me that they will open up an investigation and keep me posted. There is a possibility that they may need to speak with the students.”

TV MIGHT BE THERE…

A series of messages shows there was a mad scramble to place the burden of releasing the information on someone else’s shoulders, what with various conflicts in scheduling and out-of-town business trips. There were several mentions of how “TV might be there.”

Finally, they reached agreement to make one of their number “President of the Day.”

Title IX Coordinator Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D., Vice President for Student Success, made the information available to Witherspoon with this cheerful message, “Please find attached our response to your open records request related to LVN Program student statements. I can make hard copies available to you if you would prefer…I hope this email finds you doing well.”

Title IX is a reference to a 1972 amendment to Federal Education laws prohibiting discrimination due to sex.

It was not until public information activist Randall Scott Gates made a Public Information Act request for the same information that was released to Witherspoon  of the Tribune-Herald that it was learned that the material previously released is protected by federal law, and that forwarding a copy to the AG’s office is in itself a violation of that law, since the information is confidential.

As Assistant Attorney General dressed down County Administrator Dustin Chapman, a lawyer by profession, for being in possession of the records and for forwarding them to his office.

NOBODY IN HERE BUT US CHICKENS…

Naturally,  officials of McLennan Community College attempted to pretend they had no idea what information Gates requested.

MCC President Johnette McKown wrote in reply to the request, “We are unsure of what information is being requested so we are asking you to clarify your request…” She said the AG’s letter mentioned “materials which were not delivered to the County by the College.”

Complaints by students triggered a policy change in which LVN students appeared at the jail for training on days when Wells was not in attendance because of things he said to female Hispanic pupils about sex and the cultural identity of Hispanic women.

When Wells complained to Sales-McGee about the situation, he included a reference to the quality of his instruction, which he said developed over a period of three years.

GOOD MEXICANS AND BAD MEXICANS…

Here are some samples of alleged statements reported by his students:

“He then started talking to us about one inmate that we observed him treating who had jaundice due to Excessive alcohol, this inmate was Hispanic he started telling us how this inmate was a ‘cholo’ (Hispanic gangster) and looked at ___ and stated saying how ________ _________ should be careful not to fall in love with an inmate. ”

The student went on to say that Wells said there are “good” Mexicans and “bad” Mexicans and the bad ones “want to run around doing drugs and stealing and the poor stupid women who support them, like young nurses who somehow get a good job and choose losers…He said he is partial to Mexican women, because they are good mothers, cooks, and don’t give lip. Then he went on to say he likes the skin color, curves, and black hair on Mexican women…”

Wells said “he knows how to chemically subdue someone so that they can feel everything that is going on but their body would be unable to move and that he knows places where you could scream and scream and no one would ever be able to hear you or find you.”

One of the women said, “I hope I never see you outside these walls,” and Wells reportedly took offense at her remark.

‘JUST GO AHEAD AND PUT A GLOCK IN HIS MOUTH…’

In another incident, Wells made a student feel disturbed “by how he treated the Hispanic inmate who was suffering of jaundice because he was talking to him in Spanish and saying ‘you like her?’ Then he told the inmate he should just go ahead and put a glock (Glock semiauto pistol) in his mouth and pull the trigger because he wasn’t worth anything if he continued to drink that way. It was a good rotation, up until Dr. Wells took us.”

Strategist calls for Trump to drop out

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.31.48 AMAustin – A well-known conservative political consultant called for an emergency effort to persuade Donald Trump from going further with his campaign for President after news services such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News reported he is trailing Hillary Clinton by 10 points.

Matt Machowiak, a journalist with by-lined articles in “Roll Call” to his credit who worked in the campaign of Bill Flores against veteran Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards, made a statement on Facebook that concluded that “The GOP has a drunk driver at the wheel, chugging vodka, and he’s got other peoples’ children in the car. He must be stopped.”

Polls show that Clinton has 49 percent support of registered voters while Trump has only 39 percent, and there is “no reason to believe Trump will improve, pivot, get serious,” said Machowiak. “Believing that would require willing suspension of disbelief.”

He further accused Trump of “intentionally damaging our candidates.” His estimation carries weight when contrasted with the fact that Machowiak worked as a consultant in the “Young Guns” TEA Party movement of 2010 led by then Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, who went on to become Speaker of the House.

The best case scenario is that “Trump needs an exit plan where he saves face. Protecting from an embarrassing loss will have some appeal. But he has to be convinced.” Machowiak said such a decision would benefit “the kids…They have futures. They have their own brands. They don’t want a scarlet letter for life. It’s up to them.”

He concluded that Trump’s $55 million investment in the primary races increased the value of his brand, and could serve as a business launching pad for a news network or similar enterprise.

Election is rigged, you can’t win, you’ll be a loser forever,” Machowiak wrote. He said the only suitable replacement candidates would be “limited to” Romney, Ryan, Cruz, Kasich and Pence. All improvements.”

Solely a question of law

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The DA in Waller County filed suit to let the judge decide if it’s legal to prohibit carrying firearms throughout the entire building where courts are located, or only in an actual courtroom or court office

Hempstead, Waller County, TX – An intense legal struggle is taking shape in Texas courts, one that could possibly remind everyone on either side of the controversy surrounding gun control that the civil law is a peaceful means of resolving often deadly disputes.

Two prosecutors in this rural, racially divided community are asking a District Court to decide whether a law against carrying firearms and other prohibited weapons in a building where courts do their business is properly interpreted by local officials throughout Texas.

CLICK HERE FOR A COPY OF THE LAWSUIT

Located on the northwestern edge of Houston, Waller is one of 76 jurisdictions targeted by an open carry activist who has threatened to file suit seeking to reverse their policy of interpreting the legislative intent of the concealed carry handgun law passed in 1995 in its definition of what constitutes the area in courthouses where firearms may not be legally carried.

Judges, prosecutors and police say the ban extends to the entire building; Pastor Terry Holcomb of Carry Texas says it’s just the area where the Courts and their clerks’ offices are located. The prosecutors who have answered the challenge have the transcript of the Senatorial debate offered in an amendment to the original bill. It clearly records the words of the Senator who asked for the amendment as he argued that no one should carry a gun anywhere in a building where courts decide the issues at law that are decided there.

No one is arguing that intense emotions do not well up in those who come to the trials of family members who are penitentiary bound, or victims of violent crime, divorced spouses or parents facing the loss of their children to protective services, and defendants facing money damages in judgments they can’t afford to pay.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced last week he is filing suit to challenge judges’ bans of firearms in their courthouses. As they say in the Judges’ chambers: When in doubt, STALL…

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The location of the prosecutors who chose to fight back, Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Dorsey and Sean Whittmore, is as symbolic as the heat of that evening sun in cotton season.

The weather is just as hot this August as it was a year ago, when a Department of Public Safety Trooper wrestled a black woman to the ground and jailed her for what he swore were her “combative and uncooperative” actions after a 2015 traffic stop.

Brian Encinia would in January face indictment after a special prosecutor convinced a Grand Jury he committed perjury in a sworn affidavit supporting the arrest of Sandra Bland, a Prairie View A&M University alumnus from Chicago once active in the student movement to register voters on-campus. She refused to roll her window down and extinguish her cigarette. She had returned to the Prairie View area from her home in the north to help greet prospective students and conduct orientation tours of the university.

Three days after the arrest, deputies at the Waller County Jail found her hanged in her cell, a plastic trash bag tied around her neck. An investigation concluded she died by her own hand.

The Texas Department of Public Safety fired Encinia for the way he handled the arrest of Sandra Bland.

For what it’s worth, an examination of the nearly hour-long video from the officer’s dash cam clearly shows Ms. Bland accelerating through a stop sign at an intersection on the divided boulevard where Encinia had just released another motorist following a roadside stop.

As he followed her car to a stopping point, she abruptly jerked the vehicle to the shoulder and slammed on her brakes. Encinia narrowly avoided a rear-end collision. At one point, the trooper fairly pleaded with the woman, saying he only wished she would sign a non-criminal warning citation, something that results in no court summons and no mention of a violation on a person’s driving record.

Millions of television viewers saw only an abbreviated clip of the entire film, a YouTube video of only a couple of minutes, which showed the confrontation over the window and putting out the cigarette, the struggle to place her in handcuffs.

Nevertheless, Grand Jurors made a finding that Encinia lied in his affidavit of warrantless arrest to a magistrate and indicted him for falsifying a government document.

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

Demonstrators at the Waller County Jail displayed rage in their rhetoric, parading around the square block surrounding the collection of squat buildings in the August heat of 2015, shouting obscenities at the few newsmen gathered to snap their photos, turning their backs to the cameras. It was an ugly scene, the kind that produces a feeling of shame that one is even there.

By Any Means Necessary (1)

Who needs it? No one, especially homeowners who stood in the humid heat, their mouths agape at what they saw and heard.

A journalist with a Nikon bathed his face in darkness as he hid from the camera.

Journalist

A group of supporters with their children in tow accompanied the protesters. One man was clearly seen displaying a handgun he had partially pulled from the pocket of his knit hoodie. Click for full size.

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Only a few days later, police arrested a 25-year-old former Prairie View student who also flunked out of the University of Houston, a person repeatedly arrested for minor offenses who once escaped prosecution for aggravated assault at a homeless shelter in a dispute over a remote television control when a shrink declared him mentally incompetent. Authorities hospitalized Shannon Miles briefly. According to the murder complaint, he ran up behind Deputy Harris County Constable Darren Goforth at a convenience store in the area with a .40 caliber handgun later recovered at his home. Investigators say they will testify he fired the weapon 15 times into Goforth’s head and torso.

Investigators termed the murderous assault an “unprovoked, execution style ambush.”

The Harris County Sheriff later told the world media that he considered the killing “retaliation” for the fact that Goforth wore a police uniform.

In April of this year, Deputy Constable Alden Clopten escaped death when his bullet proof vest stopped six bullets fired from a handgun at a convenience store in a suburb not far away.

In their lawsuit, Waller County prosecutors are asking the judge to declare that signs notifying the public that it is a criminal offense to bring knives and guns into the building are not a violation of the open carry law that took effect on January 1, 2016.

They are also asking the judge to say that the entire premises of any courthouse or building that houses courts and their offices are off limits to those who are carrying firearms or knives.

Pastor Holcomb reportedly said that’s an attempt to stifle the public’s opinion on the matter.

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Writing gobbledegook in the dialect of high glaze

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Finger waves cheerfully given on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays – Nice tat, Nurse Leticia…She say, ‘Keep your mind on the doughnut, fool. Forget about the hole!

Waco – Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a jail doctor who kept writing things on the official record that were designed to throw his employers under the bus. His name is John Wells, M.D.

No amount of entreaty, warning, urgent request or admonition seemed to get through to this cat. State jail commission inspectors kept up a steady pace of gigging the Sheriff over it. That’s when the doctor wound up resigning over a case of alleged sexual harassment of a student nurse who was taking a training course at the local community college.

Pronto. (Drum roll.)

The allegations, supported by memoranda signed by the doctor himself: No psychotropic drugs for folks who have been on them for years. As they go cold turkey, they flip out, allegedly get rude with the nurses, and everything is just – lovely, you see.

He was promptly and cheerfully replaced by a Dr. Hodges, the husband of the Sheriff’s first cousin, at the identical salary of $330,000 per year – a contract with no overhead, since McLennan County employs all medical staff other than the doctor.

Now, when our man R.S. Gates requested records of this debacle, he was informed in acid tones by the county executive that the matter was up for review by the open records people at the Attorney General’s office.

They cracked back on the old boy, a young lawyer with the ability, saith the County Judge, to run a bank as an executive vice president, saying it was totally illegal for him to have the documentation he sent them because it was subject to the strictures of FERPA (alphabet soup for the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act), a measure which renders all such information confidential.

Cue: Thunder and lightning, very, very frightening…

Like, WHERE DID HE GET THIS STUFF, they wanted to know. The Assistant Attorney General involved said even his office was not supposed to have access to this stuff, and…you know.

So, what was it doing on the front page of the local newspaper, in all gory details – what he said, what she said, and the like. We are talking allegations of pure dee gossip with a capital gossip, over here.

Juicy stuff. She: Hispanic. He: Afro-American. Oh, yeah!

From: R.S. Gates
To: Dr. Johnette McKown
, McLennan Commuity College
Subject: Public information act request
 

I am making application for and requesting access to public information related to the release of FERPA information to McLennan County. The release is detailed in Attorney General memorandum letter OR2016-13557. This is not a request for access to federally protected information.

Thank you,

R.S. Gates

Dear Mr. Gates,

Thank you for contacting us. McLennan Community College acknowledges receipt of your request for access to public information. We are unsure of what information is being requested so we are asking you to clarify your request.

Specifically, you request “… Information related to the release of FERPA information to McLennan County.” In this regard you make reference to Attorney General letterOR2016-13557. You also state that “This is not a request for access to federally protected information.”

 The above referenced Atty. Gen.’s letter references materials which were not delivered to the County by the College. (emphasis added) The only material delivered by the College is information subject to FERPA which is federally protected. Under these circumstances, we are asking for clarification of your request. We are happy to reply once we have a clear understanding of your request.

Thank you.

Johnette McKown

Dr. McKown 

I do not believe any clarification is required. I intended the scope of the request to be very broad and comprehensive. I believe it was crafted to reflect that.

I want everything related to the matter that is public information. Faxes, e-mail, text messages, letters, memos etc.

 If you get all of the information together and then decide what is excepted, I will review the public information and tell you if I think it is responsive. The other information should be sent to the Attorney General since they are the only ones who can determine if the information is excepted or not.

Thank you,

R.S. Gates

Said an innocent bystander, a little urchin grown old amidst the homeless and the brave, who requested anonymity because them folks downtown ain’t got pity – none whatsoever, “I thought somebody was supposed to go to jail behind that kind of jive, man. What it is?”

Little voice come from somewhere way back in the alley:

Do your own time, man. Nothin’ don’t mean – like, nothin’, man.”

He say: “Oh, so that’s how that works, huh? Hmmm!”

A Modest Proposal

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The Air Force trained chimps  for the Mercury Program under the regimen of “operant conditioning,” in which an electric shock was applied to the soles of their feet if they made a mistake

Austin – BE IT REMEMBERED: Our military learned the way to win the Space Race with Ivan was to teach the “specimen” to follow orders and be observant – in short, to attend the mission.

WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the Biker Community that there is something like $15 million in the Motorcycle Safety Fund gleaned from hard-working dudes and dudettes who register their scoots in the Lone Star State, and;

WHEREAS: The funds have as yet been unappropriated for purposes of the safety of motorcycle enthusiasts’ personal safety while riding, and;

WHEREAS: Fatalities and serious injuries continue to mount in the statistical columns of the actuarial charts of the insurance industry, and;

WHEREAS:  Many of the collisions so charted are caused by a failure to see motorcyclists as they proceed with the flow of the traffic on public roadways throughout the Lone Star State, and;

WHEREAS:  Large amounts of folding money are spent each year by riders going through compulsory programs funded by the riders themselves in order to “educate” them that it is very difficult for a motorist to see and take note of their presence as they interact with the traffic in the wiser world of bigger motorcars, and;

WHEREAS:  A large percentage of the aforementioned collisions are adjudged to have been caused by negligence on the part of drivers who are mindful of the fact that it is written that they are supposed to be looking where they are going, and;

WHEREAS:  Somehow, the effectivity of this message seems to be wasted upon preaching to the choir, and;

WHEREAS: It is within the power of the Legislature of the State of Texas to so amend the Highway Safety Code to provide that any motorist found to have failed to observe the right of way of the operators of motorcycles be restrained in a suitable training chair under video surveillance, their bare feet strapped to electrode pedals and electrical shock applied thereto should they fail to observe the proper right of way for operators of motorcycles, the copies of the videos placed in a permanent file, and a special number applied to their license plates so that anyone may look up the record and observe their pain, which, as many generations of American fighting men have been trained while in the Thinking Chinaman position, is merely the sensation of weakness leaving the body, and;

WHEREAS: This method of operant conditioning proved so successful in training the Space Monkeys for flight in the Mercury Program of the Great Space Race;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,

THAT WE THE PEOPLE OF THE LONE STAR STATE OF TEXAS DO HEREBY AND HEREON DECLARE THAT SUCH REMEDIAL TRAINING FOR THE DING-A-LINGS WHO CAN’T ATTEND AT THE WHEEL BE CHARGED NOT LESS THAN $200 PER HOUR WHILE UNDERGOING AVERSIVE OPERANT CONDITIONING AT THE HANDS OF CERTAIN CERTIFIABLY SADISTIC PUBLIC SERVANTS WITH A PROVEN ABILITY TO ENJOY THE PAIN AND SUFFERING OF OTHERS UNTIL SUCH TIME THEY SUSTAIN A HEART ATTACK, BECOME PSYCHOTIC IN THEIR BEHAVIOR, OR VOLUNTARILY AGREE TO RELINQUISH THEIR DRIVING PRIVILEGES FOR LIFE.

As we leap forward into the pages of history, forget not our mission:

LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

So mote it be.

  • The Legendary

Motorcycle ‘user’ fees near impossible to regain

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Compulsory motorcycle helmet use reached a spastic orgy of statist reasoning in the U.S., with allegations of public health hazard leveled at those who chose it best to let those who ride decide, in state after state.

“Money beats soul – ever time.” – Jim Morrison, “Roadhouse Blues”

Austin – When it comes to the hassles between bikers and the statists who like to tell them how to live their lives, the story is all about the money.

In the upcoming Legislature, the biennial will be one in which the Texas Senate proposes appropriations, rather than the House of Representatives. That’s how they do it in Austin, alternating between one and the other chamber each two years.

Word is that Democratic Senators haven’t yet decided just how their legislative strategy will work in attempting to claim most of a $15 million balance of the Motorcycle Safety Fund remaining after the most recent Legislature’s appropriation of roughly a quarter of an unused $17 million that had accumulated from motorcycle registration fees.

One could easily argue that those funds are for asking permission to use one’s vehicle on the highways and roads of the state, in return for a registration number by which to apportion motor fuel use taxes collected at the pump back to the states in which the vehicle shares the road with passenger cages and commercial motor freight trucks.

They compromised on releasing only $4.1 million to the Department of Public Safety for its efforts to educate riders in the facts of life regarding auto-bike collisions on Texas Highways. That left the unappropriated remainder in the unused columns as counterbalance to those earmarked to be spent.

The bargain is straightforward enough; those who take a sanctioned rider safety course are exempted from having to wear a brain bucket.

They are allowed to ride their scooters in peace, as either crash test dummies, or organ donors – their option – once they have taken the rider safety course and elected whether to donate their organs by checking it off on their motorcycle endorsement on their driver licenses.

Such a deal.

Essentially, the Legislature created the “user fee” for motorcyclists when the huge majority of states enacted compulsory helmet laws in return for massive U.S. DOT grants for highway construction.

Following a landmark court decision in which it was held that a person may not be compelled to comply with a law when it is a matter of personal safety, the largest majority of states, including Texas, backed off their former statist demands for brain bucket compliance.

The Texas bureaucracy started charging a special fee on motorcycle registrations, and then the Legislature failed to use the money by refusing to appropriate the  dedicated fund for its stated purpose.

They let it add up, year after year, and used it as a balancing fund to keep the state’s spending money, and the budget, in balance.

But the Texas DOT cast collective eyes on the loot. They have established a “Share the Road” program aimed at auto v. motorcycle questions of dominance of the highways and streets. It rivals the DPS Rider Safety Program, funded mostly by the students who take the course in pursuit of a motorcycle endorsement.

According to information shared by the office of Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, the DPS siphoned off funding for other purposes.

Scholarly papers and lengthy studies concluded that because of the relative size ratio of auto and truck to motorcycle and rider, most drivers find it difficult to see scooters on the road.

Add to that the braking efficiency of two-wheelers and you get the reason why heavier vehicles often strike bikers from the rear, knock them off their ride, then run over them.

No mention here of how they might not have been looking, something one is obliged to do in the operation of a motor vehicle on a public roadway.

Since the average motorcycle enthusiast is either a skilled craftsman or a white collar worker in his mid-forties who makes above average pay, the argument goes, let them be the ones who decide what is best for their personal safety when riding Texas roads on two wheels.

Of resulting head injuries, a huge percentage are permanently disabling. The argument goes that though it may not be society’s role to decide what you want to do about your beano when you ride, it’s society who picks you up off the road, transports the injured to the hospital, treats the permanent wounds, and pays off unemployment and disability benefits when a victim can no longer support himself.

The conflict between statist reasoning and libertarian self-sufficiency could not be more starkly delineated.

Going in to the most recent Legislature, motorcycle fatalities numbered nearly 500 in 2013, up by five percent from 2012 – and accounting for 15 percent of the state’s motor vehicle deaths.

Critics point out that the previousyear was exceptionally cool and wet in its first two quarters, resulting in a 5 percent decrease in fatalities due to a decided drop in motorcycle excursions. The resulting increase was just a gain back from the previous decrease when the weather turned dry and warm in the following year of 2013.

The bottom line: Activists are rumbling that one of the main items on the agenda for the Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting at Twin Peaks Restaurant, Waco, on May 17, 2015, was how to approach the Legislature to get the entire $17 million released for it designated use – motorcycle safety, and not building roads and funding Highway Department PR campaigns.

When DPS CID officers and local police moved in on a biker rumble complete with flying fists and brandished firearms, the meeting never happened – and most biker activists, the core group of them, who usually meet in Austin, were arrested and placed under a “gag order” that severely restricted their association with other bikers or attendance at biker functions, if they wanted to keep from violating their conditions of bond.

The huge majority of those people did not engage in any violent activity, choosing mostly to low crawl to safety in restrooms and a walk-in cooler.

To McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, it didn’t matter. He directed police to place all present and identifying themselves as members of any kind of motorcycle club, support, or riding club, under arrest for the conspiracy offense of engaging in organized criminal activity leading to capital murder and/or aggravated assault.

That cancelled not only discussion at the C of C meeting on May 17 in Waco, but at the state house for the remainder of the closing Legislative session.

And there is no end in sight. Not one pending case has been scheduled for trial.

That’s not the only thing breaking the biker community’s rice bowl.

Motorcycle tourism in states under the yoke of the statist requirements of brain bucket use lags far behind those where the nation’s major biker rallies are held. One’s mind turns immediately to Bike Week and Sturgis, legendary names like Laconia.

Jail paper trail tells tale of shame in mental cases

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McLennan County’s incarceration per capita is one of Texas’ highest, and tops the rate of incarceration in the Russian Federation…

We think they’re excellent operators (LaSalle Corrections) and, unfortunately, sometimes things like this happen.” – McLennan County Judge Scott Felton.

Waco – More than 500 pages of documents obtained in a Public Information Act request reveal a pattern of witholding medication from inmates with a history of psychiatric treatment prior to their incarceration at the McLennan County Jail and the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

The practice led to more than one reprimand from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, an occurrence which led to much concern among top officials in the Sheriff’s Office Jail Division.

In one example, former Jail Doctor John Wells discontinued medication for an inmate because he “was not taking all of the recommended medications and have ben rude with the nurses. As a result we discontinued his medications.”

The text message came in reply to a Februrary 2 inquiry from Jail Captain Ricky Armstrong, who wrote “When you have time will you look at _______ ______ he was on meds for seizures and has been dc (discontinued)…His family has called stating he has violent seizures if he doesn’t take his meds. I explained to them that if he wasn’t taking his meds then you would stop them. The nurse has stated it was stopped on the 30th but there was a task asking to start them again.”

Wells replied, “______ was not taking all of the recommended medications…” in his explanation that he inmate was rude to the nurses.

Earlier in their dialogue, Armstrong noted that the jail commission issued a “technical assistance for not following normal operating procedures in reference to medical not sending an email to jhdc (Jack Harwell Detention Center, operated by LaSalle Corrections) in reference to medical files.”

A “technical assistance” is a memo placed in the file for future reference and advice from the commission’s inspectors.

The record shows that an inmate committed suicide in the privately operated detention center after making a previous overt attempt at suicide while in custody at the county jail, located right next door.

Armstrong asked, “Do you know approx how many inmates we have on Psych medications…?” Wells replied that “26 percent were on psychotropics and that accounted for 11 percent of the monthly pharmacy cost,” which was $18,059 in January.

Armstrong asked in reply if that included the Jack Harwell Detention Center, and Wells replied, “No.”

It was not an isolated incident, according to an e-mail from former Lt. Karen Anderson, who wrote Wells on August 27, 2015 in an e-mail, “Dr. Wells, Capt. Armstrong has been informed this week while at the Jail Conference that Jail Commission will no longer issue any Technical Assistance on the Mental Disability/Suicide Screen Form. It must be completed IMMEDIATELY on all inmates admitted. This will be a PASS or FAIL. Please make sure the Nursing staff is aware of this matter.”

An e-mail from Capt. Armstrong to Wells the next month emphasized the problem, saying the jail commission was tightening their scrutiny of “some jails.”

On September 30, he wrote Wells, saying, “A couple of months ago we discussed Suicide prevention training for the intake nurses. It is required training per our policy and therefore it is a TCJS requirement. Our inspections are usually in February but the Assistant Director Shannon Herklotz told me last week in a class that it is possible for some jails to be inspected twice in the same year. He stated that he has told his inspectors to change the months they inspect facilities so that the jails will not have an approximate date of the inspection. Therefore, I would like to get some documentation on Suicide training for our intake nurses as quickly as possible.”

The problem had a long-term history in the paper chase, as it turns out.

In a series of e-mails dating April 26, 2010, Karen Anderson noted in a message to Wells that she wished he would “Please reply to Kristy and myself on the matter of inmates that are active clients with MHMR (Mental Health-Mental Retardation). I agree with Kristy if they are confirmed MHMR clients. If they have been evaluated by MHMR and have been placed on specific psytropic meds by MHMR, we should probably continue them on those meds. Let us know your thoughts.”

An earlier e-mail from Kristy Lohr at MHMR to Anderson noted “It was brought to my attention by David Baker that Dr. Wells is making changes to the medication offered in the jail. From David’s understanding, there are a number of medications the jail will no longer provide to inmates including some of the psychotropic medications. MHMR’s position is as follows…

We understand not STARTING inmates on expensive psychotropic medicaitons while in jail. However, we want to make sure that our active clients who are on those medications at the time of admission to the jail will be able to continue the meds while there. It is IMPERATIVE that this occurs to maintain the stability of our clients.

Please let me know how medicaitons will be handled for inmates who are active MHMR clients and on those medications prior to arrest. Thank you.”

Wells’ reply was succinct. He wrote Anderson the same day, saying “I feel that if Ms. Lohr or anyone else has any questions or opinions, regarding the practice of medicine at our faciity. I think that is IMPERATIVE, they contact me so, that we may discuss these medical issues.”

Timely reply to inmate grievances in these regards became an issue on October 15, 2015, when then Lt. Karen Anderson wrote Wells, cautioning him that “I told Freddy I understand the amount of grievances can be overwhelming at times but our Policy, Section IV, Chapter 8 states ‘as soon as possible but not to exceed 15 days. I told Freddy Jail Commission audits us on this info and we must adhere to policy.

He returned a grievance to Det. King this morning that was 19 days old.”

A confidential source whose son has been prescribed psychotropic medication since he was five years of age – a period at this point of 20 years – told we of The Legendary that her son did without his medication for a period of six weeks after being processed into the inmate population at the Jail earlier this year.

Upon his transfer to the Jack Harwell Detention Center operated by LaSalle Corrections, he was again denied his medication for an extended period, until his problems overwhelmed him and he was placed in a medical segregation unit.

For a brief period, he was returned to the general population, according to his mother, but when difficulties with former associates from the streets arose, he was returned to the medical segregation unit; there he languished without medication again for a number of weeks.

The two jails are separated by an alley the width of a city street. MHMR’s offices in downtown Waco are only a few blocks distant from the administrative offices of the Sheriff’s department.