Abigail Anastasio, attorney who seeks prosecutors’ disqualification
Waco – The two attorneys defended their pleading with the conviction of those who know the rules and play by them.
Abigail Anastasio, a New Jersey transplant from a Philadelphia suburb who now practices criminal law from Houston, filed a motion seeking a ruling that will declare Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, First Assistant DA Michael Jarrett, and Mark Parker, the Assistant DA who handles Grand Jury presentations and scheduling – as witnesses in the Twin Peaks investigation that led to 177 identical affidavits of warrantless arrest for engaging in organized criminal activity.
Rule 3.08, Texas Rules of Professional Conduct, disallows a lawyer from employment in a case “if the lawyer knows or believes that the lawyer is (or) may be a witness necessary to establish an essential fact on behalf of the lawyer’s client…”
Ms. Anastasio knows that Mssrs. Reyna, Jarrett, and Parker did exactly that.
She bases her opinion on a police report prepared by Waco Police Detective V. Price.
In that report, Price stated he and his colleagues had “elected to 1) question those present, and 2) release them to be recalled later, except where particularized facts justified an arrest.”
All of the affidavits of warrantless arrest are identical. None of them offer any particularized information whatsoever alleging any facts of a complaint.
Someone stopped the music and told the cops to come to the Convention Center, that the trio of prosecutors had made a decision.
Their decision: “…if it was learned that they (the accused) were members of the Bandidos or Cossacks; that they would be charged with ENGAGING IN ORGANIZED CRIME based on the wording of an affidavit that had been prepared by the District Attorney’s Office.”
What’s more, anyone who wore a patch “indicating support for the Bandidos or Cossacks, or who in any way indicated support either the Bandidos or Cossacks, would be charged with engaging in organized crime pursuant to the affidavit the District Attorney’s Office had provided.”
Chief among the grounds for their recusal, argues Ms. Anastasio, is that “investigative decisions were not made by law enforcement officers, but by prosecutors.”
By so depriving the cops of that function, the lawyers became necessary witnesses because “They, and only they, are competent to speak of what decisions were made in directing the investigation in this case…they were the ones ones who made those decisions and directed the actions of the officers at the scene.”
As a result of “tampering of the investigation, exculpatory evidence went undiscovered.”
She and Mr. Looney are seeking a hearing before 54th District Court Judge Matt Johnson “as soon as possible,” and if the prosecutors are declared as necessary witnesses, she intends to subpoena them for their testimony. If her motion is denied, she may “possibly” appeal the ruling to the 10th District Court of Appeals at Waco because “a material witness cannot be used as an attorney for any party, including the State, to litigate its case.”
Looney told gathered media representatives that his client, Cody Ledbetter, was in attendance with his arm in a sling on May 17, 2015, that had Reyna and his staff not intervened, “he would not have been charged in this case.”
‘The cops were doing what they always do,” said attorney Paul Looney – until the DA told them to stop doing it…