Attorney Paul Looney’s remarks at Austin ‘Special Delivery’ rally
Austin – In protest, supporters of the defendants charged in a mass arrest following a police shooting of 9 who died and 20 wounded gathered on the Capitol steps to decry a lack of discovery of the evidence to be used against 177 persons charged with the identical offense of engaging in organized criminal activity on May 15.
If the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants an across the board gag order for attorneys and all defendants involved that has been proposed in a Writ of Mandamus by McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, it will signal a turn toward totalitarian regulation that will strip defendants in the future of their right to a freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 1, Section 8 of the Texas Constitution and by Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
The State’s argument is that to release any details might compromise the defendants’ chances of a fair trial. The truth is, the charges are so vaguely pronounced in identical, fill-in-the-blanks affidavits of warrantless arrest, their attorneys despair of mounting an effective defense.
The affidavits merely state the defendants were wearing colors or were otherwise identified as members of “criminal street gangs” as designated by a Department of Public Safety manual published by Texas A&M University, according to examining trial testimony elicited from a criminal intelligence division commander, Lt. Paul Schwartz.
“That’s how tyrannies usually start: by throwing people in jail because of their association,” said F. Clinton Broden, who is representing Matthew Clendennen, one of the arrested bikers, in criminal and civil lawsuits.
According to an attorney who cross examined Schwartz, Paul Looney of Hempstead and Houston, there is no real evidence the vast majority of people so charged did anything illegal. In remarks to the crowd gathered at the Capitol, Looney declared he has never seen anything done to Americans inside the borders of the nation to compare, other than the treatment received by Japanese living here at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.
The truth is, the Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting was convened at Waco instead of at Austin in order for bikers from north, east, central and near west Texas to gather in a more central location and learn about the progress of several open carry handgun bills then under consideration by the Legislature.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the lead investigating agency on the case, with charge of crime scene, forensic, and ballistics studies.
A similar set of circumstances existed on February 28, 1993, when the ATF raided the Mount Carmel Center near Bellmead in order to search for fully automatic weapons and huge stockpiles of ammunition, items which failed to materialize after a 51-day siege in which more than 70 persons lost their lives in a tremendous explosion. Four ATF agents lost their lives on the initial day of the raid when authorities refused to show the search warrant upon arrival and members of the sect returned fire from inside the compound.
Adding to the drama, the International Association of Chiefs of Police had just that Sunday morning concluded a weekend convention in the capitol city, during which numerous top law men visited the Governor to urge her to veto any legislation allowing concealed carry of handguns in the Lone Star State.
At that time, a concealed carry handgun law had been placed on Governor Ann Richards’ desk for her signature. She eventually vetoed the legislation, which passed early during the first term of George W. Bush. Both had made an issue of the proposal to allow concealed carry of handguns in their campaigns – Richards being against the measure, Bush in favor.