Harker Heights – A criminal defense attorney who with her partner is defending four of the 170 accused of engaging in organized criminal activity following a mass shooting that left 9 dead and 18 wounded at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, said in an interview that former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Britanny Lannen made offers to have clients sign agreements stating that the City of Waco and McLennan County had the right to arrest defendants on affidavits of warrantless arrest severely lacking in probable cause allegations.
The offers were confirmed by a senior prosecutor in the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, in the presence of the county’s two criminal District Judges, she said.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett received electronic messages on his phone from Lannen, said attorney Susan Criss of Harker Heights, who attended a meeting between Jarrett and other defense attorneys eager to negotiate bail reductions that took place Monday, June 1, at the DA’s office.
“He read texts from his phone,” said Ms. Criss, when reached for comment. “Looney (Paul, Houston attorney of Looney & Conrad, P.C.) indicated he had discussed it with Jarrett. Jarrett said it’s not an ethical way to do this…When we were in Jarrett’s office, he started pulling out his phone and reading it to us.”
In a later meeting attended by the attorneys and Criminal District Judges Ralph Strother and Matt Johnson of the 19th and 54th District Courts, Jarrett repeated his earlier disclosure, reading the texts he received from Ms. Lannen from his phone to the judges.
“She said she had it all worked out, that this was the way to do things,” Ms. Criss recalled.
Asked about the quality of the affidavits of warrantless arrests that were boiler-plated and made to fill in the name of each defendant as to identical allegations of complaint, she responded in a breathless whisper, saying, “This is most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.
“There is not one part of it that is particularized about one individual. Being in a motorcycle club and wearing colors is not probable cause.”
All the defendants are charged with the identical offense of engaging in organized criminal activity – as members of criminal street gangs identified by a Department of Public Safety manual – and that the conspiracy of acting in combination with other offenders led to the commission of capital murder and/or aggravated assault.