Waco – McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna is a Baylor man hanged by his old school tie following a gossipy, contentious hearing over the prosecution of a couple employed in positions of high responsibility at the nation’s largest religious university.
When patrol officers found the lady of the house to be a wee bit drunky-poo behind the wheel, they handcuffed her and let her husband get home on his own power because they had impounded the family car.
Though he, too, was intoxicated, they did not arrest him, and left to his own devices, the old boy got on his motorcycle and headed for the County Jail on Highway Six, where officers promptly arrested him for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
C’est la guerre. As they say in the rooms of the 12-step programs: Alcohol is a drug, and as we all know, there is a war on drugs. Oh, yes.
Defense attorney Guy Cox, who is defending Baylor President Ken Starr’s executive secretary, Jennifer Jarvis, and her husband Louis Jarvis, who has charge of the physical plant at the sprawling campus, mounted a legal challenge to the competency and qualifications of Special Prosecutor Brittany Lannen.
He threw snake eyes and crapped out when visiting retired County Court-at-Law Judge Mike Gasaway ruled he had failed to meet the standard of proof in his chief allegation, that Ms. Lannen withheld key exculpatory evidence when she didn’t turn over more than 100 pages of material gathered by Child Protective Services investigators in an unrelated prosecution of a serial sex offender named Jose Antonio Guerrero-Yanez. In that case, which Ms. Lannen prosecuted, the accused drew a 70-year sentence for his improper sexual attentions to a pair of little girls
The point seems to be moot. When the accused won a re-trial on appeal, the judge wound up sentencing him to 4 consecutive life terms, plus 40 years.
The special prosecutor was able to convince the judge that she never had the material, or was unaware of its existence, or both.
But the matter didn’t end there. Ms. Lannen put her former employer’s law associate on the witness stand and elicited his testimony that as far as his records show, Reyna never represented either of the Jarvises during the association in a private defense law practice. Ouch.
Reyna’s luck just kept getting worse.
His former administrative assistant testified that she, too, had no knowledge of his ever having represented the pair. To finalize matters, it was revealed in evidence and testimony that the candidate for Special Prosecutor Mr. Cox advocated had agreed to not seek prosecution of the Baylor employees on similar grounds, an arrangement Ms. Lannen had no intention of honoring.
It is never a pleasant experience gaining admission to the Criminal Courts, and according to Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates, this was a case doubly troubling, for there was no public docket of the hearing to be found on the internet. When he finally got inside the doors of the Courthouse after clearing the metal detector by placing his hands on a table and leaning over to elevate each boot – one at time, a ritual reminiscent of getting a paddling in the principal’s office – he learned by asking someone after making the rounds of each court that the hearing would take place in the “administrative courtroom” located in the basement of the Courthouse Annex.
To reach that location, one must take the elevator to the third floor, cross the rotunda, take a corridor to a catwalk that connects the two buildings, locate the elevator, and descend four floors.
Once he found the hearing, he noted that many judges and lawyers, as well as print and broadcast reporters, had gathered for the spectacle of watching the people’s law office – the DA’s office – caught in a frustrating series of little white falsehoods.
One may get a sense of his skepticism by listening to the audio:
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