Video from a pole camera withheld pending ‘analysis’ is crux of dispute
Six Shooter Junction – The dreaded Michael Morton Act reared its head in 54th District Court where Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna is seeking a delay in the trial of a man whose attorney says is under prosecution as “a witness to something he didn’t see.”
Though Matthew Clendennen, a member of the Scimitars support club of the Cossacks who had come to a Confederation of Clubs legislative meeting on May 17th at Twin Peaks Restaurant to hear an update on pending handgun carry legislation, did not see what actually happened when rival biker clubs began a shootout the police ultimately finished, a pole camera erected early that morning by DPS detectives apparently caught every detail at the apex of the L-shaped ambush as it took place.
That video is awaiting analysis, according to a a motion to delay Clendennen’s trial for engaging in organized criminal activity, according to Reyna.
In the motion, the prosecutor cites the newly amended Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which calls for criminal sanctions against prosecutors who fail to supply information that is both exculpatory and alleged proof of culpability. That law, which took effect on January 1, 2014, resulted in the exoneration of Michael Morton for the murder of his wife after nearly three decades in the penitentiary and the disgrace and conviction of a state district judge who. while then acting as prosecutor in Williamson County, withheld a transcript of an interview of an eye witness to the murder and blood and tissue specimen that led to DNA evidence used to convict the actual murderer.
He goes so far as to state that he suspects the defense attorneys’ opposition to further delay is in effect a trial strategy that could lead to reversible error if the trial is allowed to proceed without proper analysis of such evidence as the video. The camera’s angle is situated so as to catch the actions of shooters in the patio area and on the parking lot at the moment fighting broke out, and includes the exact placement of police officers who responded by firing semiauto assault carbines at bikers, including Waco Police Officer Michael Bucher, who first reported shots had been fired. The delay of disclosure is mentioned in an agreed discovery statement attached to the discovery inventory.
Dallas attorney F. Clinton Broden fired off a countermotion to oppose the move, stating that the delay is a needless obstruction of a speedy trial.
The pole camera video and other items have been withheld from discovery requested by defense counsel in more than 100 cases pending “analyses,” according to prosecutors.