Waco – It’s about what you would expect from a law firm named Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado, Acosta, LLP.
It is a venerable name well-known in legal circles throughout the state. Just saying.
Nevertheless, Vanessa A. Gonzalez, who handles legal affairs for Baylor University and the Baylor University Police Department, has made a decision that the recent arrest of Assistant District Attorney Kristen Parker, 27, who routinely prosecutes cases of drunk driving, is a matter of great sensitivity.
Not only would release of information regarding the alleged offense and arrest “interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime…,” but “(1) the information contains highly intimate or embarrassing facts the publication of which would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person, and (2) the information is not of legitimate concern to the public…”
That’s what they call the common law privacy exception.
Now, be it remembered that most of the students and faculty at the university hail from cities and towns where the local paper charges a premium lineage rate for advertising on the page where indictments and arrests for drunk driving are chronicled – if not in glaring red letters, then in the same shade of black and white as the statutes applied in the criminal charges.
At any rate, when R.S. Gates, public information activist, made his request for public information, he came prepared to challenge all appeals to the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas.
Going into the home stretch of Autumn, it could turn out to be a long, slow pitcher’s duel, since at some point the information will become public – one way or the other, even if the District Attorney finds it necessary to recuse himself.
In fact, Counselor Gonzalez even cited the venerable case of Houston Chronicle Publishing Company v. City of Houston, 531 S.W. 2d 177, 187 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.) 1975.
That case involved complaints by the press lords of Texas Avenue involving allegations that the Houston Police at the intercontinental airport withheld information about big shots and sometimes even bigger wigs getting popped for pouring themselves behind the wheel and trying to drive their gas guzzlers home after imbibing enough to turn any scheduled airline passenger flight into a red eye special.
What is known as “police blotter” information became available to the public, as a result – at least for that day.
What is of some curious note may be that when it comes to police, prosecutors or anyone else involved with the dispensation of justice, the sensitivity of information involving allegations of drunk driving approaches that of national security – while We The People are subjected to the kind of public scrutiny accorded axe murderers, armed robbers, sex offenders, and traitors.
Probation officers routinely insist they must know the full legal names, addresses, and phone numbers of AA sponsors, and then demand that the papers signed by meeting chairmen contain precisely what was discussed concerning spiritual recovery through reliance and guidance from a Higher Power at the meetings.
Waco – A key turning point in public perception of what happened and why at the police massacre at Twin Peaks Restaurant of May 17, 2015 came on 22 August at a memorial service for the dead, wounded and politically disenfranchised living under the strictures of criminal prosecution so vague as to approach absurdity.
Quite simply, the government is laboring hard to create an illusion of people involved in the political process as being insurgents with an unpredictable propensity for extreme violence.
In fact, a pattern is beginning to emerge that reveals a runaway militarized police presence practicing the politics of provocation.
In fact and by law, the net effect is to create a political environment – an atmosphere – in which the front lines in a fantasized death struggle are – everywhere.
At what point will we all look at one another out of the corners of our eyes and ask, “What do you mean martial law is coming? It’s already here!”
ORDERS WE WILL NOT OBEY:
We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants or to subject them to military tribunal.
We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a state of emergency on a state.
We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to keep the peace or to maintain control.
We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
George Potter backed the wrong slate, spent six days in jail, and opted for the immediate sale of his house in town after the ordeal
Valley Mills, TX – When they came to arrest George Potter, they caught him at the filling station, the place where a lot of men go to kaffe klatsch and do business.
The officers carried five identical arrest warrants issued by the municipal court, each dated August 9 and specifying a vague charge dealing with “safety of buildings.”
After a six-day stay in the Bosque County Jail at Meridian, Potter was required to return to the county seat at Meridian to get copies of the vague legal instruments used to incarcerate him over a piece of inherited property, a house in town in need of repair.
It’s that way in this culturally divided town on the McLennan County line, a garden spot on the river at the tail end of a beautiful valley, the kind with low-ranging rocky mounts on either side and a railroad running through it, stands of oaks and pecans and sycamores.
For Potter, the hammer came down more than a year after the election that returned the town’s power structure to its position of command and control after an openly gay reform mayor presided for a term over a divided council amid forensic audits that showed the public had been bilked in the big time with shady accounting of where the money came from, why, but not much detail on where it went.
“I stood up for Jerry and backed him regardless of his sexual orientation. Guess that was unforgivable or maybe I ‘betrayed’ my own kind as a straight white male. F___ if I know at this point…I knew the retaliation was coming the second I heard that Jerry lost. It was only a matter of time,” said Potter.
As it turned out, the leader of the opposition, a Baptist preacher, said Potter, was at the bottom of the plot to make him sell his house.
“Church next door has wanted the lot for years for a parking area. The preacher of that church was in that Children of God cult years ago and led the attack against Jerry Pierce when he ran for re-election as mayor.”
A few days in the jail, which the state commission on jail standards has long ago declared substandard and condemned, made Potter change his mind, or at least become less adamant about the issue.
“We worked the deal out during visitation hours at the jail. I signed the contract in my cell. And I got back what I paid, which was $8,000. Then had to pay a $3,000 judgement to the neighbor who sued me after he went in and pushed a bunch of trash and junk over from his side to my side. He is a former Waco K9 cop who had to quit because he got too fat. Property was worth double that if not more as it sat.”
Potter says the new owner is trained in structural engineering. Far from wishing to tear the house down to make way for a parking lot, “New owners have started working already. Plans are to apply for a historical marker.”
One of the five identical, non-specific warrants served ex-post-facto
Police arrested David Dauzat, 23, at his mobile home in the 4300 block of Concord Rd, Bellmead, where he barricaded himself and his two toddlers after beheading his wife, Natasha Dauzat, 21, and put her head in a freezer.
Dauzat was reportedly covered in blood when he surrendered to officers following a brief standoff at his trailer.
A native of Marksville, Louisiana, Dauzat suddenly left his home town about three months ago and moved to Bellmead, according to a first cousin, Harold Dauzat, who lives in Villeplatte, La. He said the family has heard nothing from the young couple, who would have been married two years this week.
He said he regrets the police turned the couples two children, aged one and two, over the CPS custody.
“I wish they would have let me know. I would have come got them,” said Mr. Dauzat, who said that at 27, he is four years older than his cousin. When asked if the family is of the Islamic faith, he said, “No, we’re American.”
Houston lawyer predicts DA’s entire office will be disqualified…
Paul Looney of Looney and Conrad called out cops’ and DA’s veracity
BULLETIN: Attorney F. Clinton Broden, who is representing Matthew Alan Clendennen of the Scimitars MC, reached us to say, “Just so it is clear, I will write my own brief for Judge Johnson. While I am happy to accept any suggestions from Mr. Conrad or anybody else who would like to contribute, the ultimate work product will be mine. I do not allow other attorneys to ghostwrite briefs for me.”
Hempstead, TX – Appeals attorney Clay Conrad will prepare the legal brief for disqualification of Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna in the Twin Peaks massacre of May 17, 2015.
The principal partner in his firm, Paul Looney, volunteered his services, which the attorneys representing the defendants in the motion readily accepted. He noted his firm did the research and initial draft of the motion.
Looney predicted the likely outcome by saying, “Reyna is in serious danger of having his entire office disqualified from all Waco biker cases.”
The central point in the argument is that Reyna became a “necessary witness” when he took charge of the investigation and made the decision as to what charges to file against suspects. He cannot legally do both jobs – serve as an investigator and prosecutor simultaneously – under the rules of criminal procedure.
He further called into question the veracity of the testimony heard in a Monday hearing into the matter, saying “Either all of the police are lying, or, Reyna is. There is no way to reconcile the contradictions. Somebody is telling abject lies.”
Looney pointed the finger of blame at Reyna, saying Reyna caused 177 people to be arrested “even though not one Waco Police official agreed with the appropriateness of such an over-the-top course of action.” He added that “no valid theory in law supports the extreme actions taken at Reyna’s instruction following the Twin Peaks episode last year.
“A horrible situation was made much worse. I can only attribute Reyna’s decisions to extreme ambition. It had nothing to do with seeking justice,” said Looney. “Seeking justice, as we all know, is the only thing any District Attorney has the power to do.”
In predicting a favorable ruling in a “couple of months,” Looney termed illegal the mass Twin Peaks arrests and identical charges of engaging in organized criminal activity following a gang fight between rival motorcycle clubs and a police massacre of the assailants with assault rifles.
Evidence that emerged in testimony included then Police Chief Brent Stroman’s account of giving permission in a long distance phone call from the east coast to make the arrests because he thought Reyna meant he could obtain convictions for capital murder. All the police who were there said they thought they were doing an investigation of capital murder cases in officer-involved shootings.
Each in turn gave testimony that reflected their memory being that they were identifying potential witnesses to the melee in preparation for their release. They further agreed in their testimony that when Reyna and members of his staff arrived at the Waco Convention Center, he instructed them they were to arrest every person with either a Bandidos, Cossacks, or support club patch on their clothing. They also said the affidavit of warrantless arrest, identical in every case, had been prepared members of Reyna’s staff.
On the other hand, Assistant District Attorney Mark Parker recalled that it looked as though the detainees were “under arrest” because their hands were restrained by zip-tie temporary handcuffs. “It didn’t look like they were free to go,” he said. He also noted that none of the detainees had been advised of their rights.
Reyna’s testimony, which was vague and included much ado about what he did not recall, was to the effect that he was convinced that Manuel Chavez, the detective who signed an affidavit of warrantless arrest, either had already, or would assure himself that the allegations in the sworn affirmation were true, though he had no personal knowledge of the events because he was not there.
Reyna further testified that he urged Chavez to take pains to verify the information.
Chavez when re-called to the witness stand, admitted that he did not do any such thing, that he never talked to Reyna.
“In any event, Looney is of the opinion, based on the evidence in the Monday hearing, that Reyna’s grandiosity resulted in the illegal arrest of most of the people facing charges as a result of the Twin Peaks mess.
Detectives noted during the hearing that the cases of suspected capital murder that occurred on May 17, 2015 at Twin Peaks restaurant at a meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents are still open case, the subject of ongoing investigation.
CUE THE BACKGROUND SINGER, MAESTRO – THE TIME IS NOW
Six Shooter Junction – Now the time has come for remembrance of things thought long lost and in the past.
BE IT KNOWN TO ONE AND ALL: There is a particular place in McLennan County, Texas, where the people forgot the meaning of the terms of outlawry. They began to think of that vernacular status as that of a swashbuckling badass, someone pulling off spectacular and outrageous offenses – seemingly for sport – and not just some miserable little man, all alone within this world, placed outside the protection of the law, the peace and dignity of We The People.
But the cruelty of this jest came back to haunt them on a dog day Monday morning when the powers that be came on to be heard about the price in gold and relative worth of a human soul.
A quirk of the federal law of Reconstruction laid down by conquerors following that most vicious form of war, that of brother against brother, allowed the outlaw to seek redress in money damages for the alleged violation of his civil rights by those who in the dim mists of antiquity were once and forever quaintly known as The King’s Men.
Most people sneer at and ignore the fact that the law underpinning this legal action is known as the Magna Carta, signed at the conclusion of a battle by an English King on pain of the threat of having his head cut off then and there by members of the nobility.
The Magna Carta, 1215
The fact that they obtained their victory by fighting on ground of their own choosing pales in contrast to what would have happened had they failed.
On Monday morning, August 8, 2016, in the 54th Criminal District Courtroom, every police officer who testified as to just who made the decision at the scene of a battle in which men dressed in distinctive costumes of allegedly outlaw motorcycle gangs had walked into an L-shaped ambush laid by police officers equipped with state of the art “assault rifles” to arrest everyone present on the non-specific conspiracy charge of engaging in organized criminal activity had not been made by anyone present at the scene of the alleged crime or the investigative headquarters.
The Chief of Police when consulted by long distance phone had no personal knowledge of what had taken place, nor did the detective who signed the affidavit of warrantless arrest declaring his sworn affirmation of probable cause. He was working another case, elsewhere, and had been summoned as the “on call” officer.
The acting chief of police testified that he would not have made the decision to arrest everyone present wearing the distinctive emblem of a member of the Cossacks or Bandidos or any of their numerous support clubs, that he and his men were in the middle of conducting an investigation of capital murder in an officer-involved shooting.
In fact, the chief of police affirmed that he misunderstood the charge under discussion. He thought the District Attorney was talking about the charge of capital murder when he gave his assent.
Throughout this testimony, a rangy outfit scribbled notes on pieces of legal pad torn from his tablet and passed them to the defendant Matthew Clendennen, who was seated at the rail inside the bar in the well of the courtroom. Don Tittle, the Dallas torts attorney associated with F. Clinton Broden, Clendennen’s criminal defense lawyer, would make an observation, and Broden would ask the question that placed that fact or remark on the record of the hearing into what personal or professional pecuniary interest did the District Attorney have in the case that should lead to his disqualification as a prosecutor.
Like a specter from a world unseen, Tittle stalked from his place in the gallery to the bar, totally ignored and unremarked by judge, witness, attorney, spectator, bailiff, and the like.
And yet, every time he rose to his feet and propelled his lanky frame across the room, some new revelation would take place.
You might say he’s a team player, one who extracted a $2 million judgment from the County of McLennan in federal court for the violation of the civil rights of Deputy Sheriff’s Officers in 2014.
Don Tittle, heralded as one of Dallas’ top-notch civil rights lawyers
In a final confrontation with reality, the detective who did make an affirmation upon his oath was called back to the witness stand, questioned under redirect examination if he had received instructions from the District Attorney to make dead sure that he had personal knowledge of the allegation, or could testify as to what he based his belief upon as a result of his consultation with fellow officers.
He said, “I never talked to him.”
Abel Reyna, the elected official, the Criminal District Attorney of McLennan County who had answered in the affirmative that he is the chief law enforcement officer in his jurisdiction, had earlier testified that he had instructed him to assure himself before signing the affidavit by making phone calls or consulting with his fellow officers that he could testify of his personal knowledge of the allegation, non-specific as to details of that offense and leveled against 177 persons in identical specification of a non-specific offense against the peace and dignity of We The People.
Somewhere, the souls of men both great and small, long gone and perhaps forgotten, men who placed their lives and the lives of their families, their wives and children on the line, turned to one another either in Heaven, or in Hell, smiled and winked at one another in a world storied in myth and Holy Writ, a world unseen.
As the parties walked away from the Courthouse in the one hundred – plus degree heat of a dog day afternoon, Don Tittle was standing near the steps, arranging to meet yet another defense attorney at his office in the Liberty Building to discuss representation of a Twin Peaks defendant for violation of his civil rights.
So mote it be.
‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…”
Abigail Anastasio’s questions about potential multimillion dollar judgments against DA Abel Reyna that would have to be satisfied by taxpayers compelled the judge to have them answered in writing
CAPITAL MURDER INVESTIGATION STILL OPEN, COPS SAY
Waco – When District Attorney Abel Reyna ordered the arrest of everyone wearing a motorcycle club patch or the patch of a supporter club, he aborted a capital murder investigation that is still open, according to a top cop.
Robert Lanning, acting Waco Chief of Police on May 17, 2015, told lawyers today that if it had been his decision to make, he would not have arrested en mass every person at Twin Peaks following a police massacre of bikers fighting with fists and guns.
As the day-long hearing of a motion to disqualify District Attorney Abel Reyna and members of his staff unfolded, testimony revealed now retired Chief of Police Brent Stroman allowed the DA to make all decisions as to how to proceed with arrests and charging suspects after Reyna told him in a long distance phone call that he could stand before a judge and jury and convict every person who attended a political meeting that erupted in gunfire and fist fighting.
Stroman testified that he thought Reyna meant he could obtain convictions for capital murder, and he gave his consent.
Further testimony from police officers who were there at Twin Peaks Restaurant and at an impromptu emergency headquarters at the Waco Convention Center revealed that none of the persons detained for questioning had been advised of their rights under the law against self incrimination.
When Assistant District Attorney Mark Parker discovered this, he said, he was surprised. He agreed with Reyna’s attorney that any information thus obtained would have been rendered “worthless” in prosecution.
“They appeared to us to be under arrest because they were wearing zip ties (temporary handcuffs)…It didn’t appear to us they were free to leave.”
They had not been read their procedural rights and their statements were not recorded, he declared.
One busload of Cossacks and their supporters had been transported by city bus to Lacy Lakeview for release and another filled with Bandidos and their supporters were hauled to the Lorena Police Department.
Reyna testified that the police felt it was necessary to separate them by miles due to a threat of further violence.
At that point, Parker said, Reyna, First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Jarrett, Assistant DA Sterling Harmon and he called the investigators into a room to get everyone on “the same page.”
Those who had been released were called back and arrested, and the decision to arrest all who wore patches of Bandidos, Cossacks or their support clubs was put into motion.
Assistant Chief Lanning testified that none of the assistant chiefs agreed, and that no one in law enforcement agreed with the decision, either.
In rambling, hostile testimony, an angry Reyna mumbled that “I do not recall that…” to most questions put to him by F. Clinton Broden, attorney for Matthew Clendennen of the Scimitars support club of the Cossacks, and Abigail Anastasio, attorney for Ray Nelson of the Hill County Cossacks.
In response to Anastasio’s questioning about his exposure to liability both professional and personal in civil rights suits, he fairly shouted, “I don’t care if you take the food out of my son’s mouth. I’m not worried about the threat of a lawsuit. I’ve read the lawsuit. I can tell you the allegations are false…I don’t care. I’m going to do the right thing.”
When the lawyers tried to call attorneys representing Reyna on behalf of the Texas Association of Counties, the lead litigator objected on grounds of attorney-client privilege.
54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson sidestepped the issue in public exposure by ordering the attorneys to ask their questions in writing in order to learn if McLennan County taxpayers will be liable for judgments in excess of the $500,000 liability insurance covers, or if Reyna will be personally liable.
He ordered them to brief their cases and turn them in .
Knowledgeable observers predicted a ruling should come within two months.
“Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation.” – Quote from an e-mail by a top McLennan Community College executive regarding difficulties with John Wells, M.D.
Waco – E-mails that circulated between college officials about student statements regarding allegations of sexual harassment by former County Jail Doctor John Wells expose a total lack of confidentiality.
No one mentioned getting an opinion from the Open Records Division of the State Attorney General’s Office; likewise, no one voiced any objection whatsoever to turning over the sensitive information that is protected by federal law from disclosure to Waco Tribune-Herald Staff Writer Tommy Witherspoon for a news story about why Wells resigned his $330,000 a year position at the end of April.
OFFICIALS MADE AWARE OF ALLEGATIONS…
In fact, the flow of message traffic shows the chain of command at the college and at the McLennan County Jail were aware of the allegations made by students, and had been furnished with the materials in defiance – or perhaps ignorance – of federal law.
On February 19, Vocational Nursing Program Director Kim Sales-McGee e-mailed her boss: “I have all student statements and they are signed. Do you want me to email a copy to you? The meeting yesterday went well. I met with Captain Ricky Armstrong and the County HR (human resources) Director Amanda Talbert. They were very disturbed by what they read from the students. They informed me that they will open up an investigation and keep me posted. There is a possibility that they may need to speak with the students.”
TV MIGHT BE THERE…
A series of messages shows there was a mad scramble to place the burden of releasing the information on someone else’s shoulders, what with various conflicts in scheduling and out-of-town business trips. There were several mentions of how “TV might be there.”
Finally, they reached agreement to make one of their number “President of the Day.”
Title IX Coordinator Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D., Vice President for Student Success, made the information available to Witherspoon with this cheerful message, “Please find attached our response to your open records request related to LVN Program student statements. I can make hard copies available to you if you would prefer…I hope this email finds you doing well.”
Title IX is a reference to a 1972 amendment to Federal Education laws prohibiting discrimination due to sex.
It was not until public information activist Randall Scott Gates made a Public Information Act request for the same information that was released to Witherspoon of the Tribune-Herald that it was learned that the material previously released is protected by federal law, and that forwarding a copy to the AG’s office is in itself a violation of that law, since the information is confidential.
As Assistant Attorney General dressed down County Administrator Dustin Chapman, a lawyer by profession, for being in possession of the records and for forwarding them to his office.
NOBODY IN HERE BUT US CHICKENS…
Naturally, officials of McLennan Community College attempted to pretend they had no idea what information Gates requested.
MCC President Johnette McKown wrote in reply to the request, “We are unsure of what information is being requested so we are asking you to clarify your request…” She said the AG’s letter mentioned “materials which were not delivered to the County by the College.”
Complaints by students triggered a policy change in which LVN students appeared at the jail for training on days when Wells was not in attendance because of things he said to female Hispanic pupils about sex and the cultural identity of Hispanic women.
When Wells complained to Sales-McGee about the situation, he included a reference to the quality of his instruction, which he said developed over a period of three years.
GOOD MEXICANS AND BAD MEXICANS…
Here are some samples of alleged statements reported by his students:
“He then started talking to us about one inmate that we observed him treating who had jaundice due to Excessive alcohol, this inmate was Hispanic he started telling us how this inmate was a ‘cholo’ (Hispanic gangster) and looked at ___ and stated saying how ________ _________ should be careful not to fall in love with an inmate. ”
The student went on to say that Wells said there are “good” Mexicans and “bad” Mexicans and the bad ones “want to run around doing drugs and stealing and the poor stupid women who support them, like young nurses who somehow get a good job and choose losers…He said he is partial to Mexican women, because they are good mothers, cooks, and don’t give lip. Then he went on to say he likes the skin color, curves, and black hair on Mexican women…”
Wells said “he knows how to chemically subdue someone so that they can feel everything that is going on but their body would be unable to move and that he knows places where you could scream and scream and no one would ever be able to hear you or find you.”
One of the women said, “I hope I never see you outside these walls,” and Wells reportedly took offense at her remark.
‘JUST GO AHEAD AND PUT A GLOCK IN HIS MOUTH…’
In another incident, Wells made a student feel disturbed “by how he treated the Hispanic inmate who was suffering of jaundice because he was talking to him in Spanish and saying ‘you like her?’ Then he told the inmate he should just go ahead and put a glock (Glock semiauto pistol) in his mouth and pull the trigger because he wasn’t worth anything if he continued to drink that way. It was a good rotation, up until Dr. Wells took us.”
Austin – A well-known conservative political consultant called for an emergency effort to persuade Donald Trump from going further with his campaign for President after news services such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News reported he is trailing Hillary Clinton by 10 points.
Matt Machowiak, a journalist with by-lined articles in “Roll Call” to his credit who worked in the campaign of Bill Flores against veteran Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards, made a statement on Facebook that concluded that “The GOP has a drunk driver at the wheel, chugging vodka, and he’s got other peoples’ children in the car. He must be stopped.”
Polls show that Clinton has 49 percent support of registered voters while Trump has only 39 percent, and there is “no reason to believe Trump will improve, pivot, get serious,” said Machowiak. “Believing that would require willing suspension of disbelief.”
He further accused Trump of “intentionally damaging our candidates.” His estimation carries weight when contrasted with the fact that Machowiak worked as a consultant in the “Young Guns” TEA Party movement of 2010 led by then Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, who went on to become Speaker of the House.
The best case scenario is that “Trump needs an exit plan where he saves face. Protecting from an embarrassing loss will have some appeal. But he has to be convinced.” Machowiak said such a decision would benefit “the kids…They have futures. They have their own brands. They don’t want a scarlet letter for life. It’s up to them.”
He concluded that Trump’s $55 million investment in the primary races increased the value of his brand, and could serve as a business launching pad for a news network or similar enterprise.
“…Election is rigged, you can’t win, you’ll be a loser forever,” Machowiak wrote. He said the only suitable replacement candidates would be “limited to” Romney, Ryan, Cruz, Kasich and Pence. All improvements.”
The DA in Waller County filed suit to let the judge decide if it’s legal to prohibit carrying firearms throughout the entire building where courts are located, or only in an actual courtroom or court office
Hempstead, Waller County, TX – An intense legal struggle is taking shape in Texas courts, one that could possibly remind everyone on either side of the controversy surrounding gun control that the civil law is a peaceful means of resolving often deadly disputes.
Two prosecutors in this rural, racially divided community are asking a District Court to decide whether a law against carrying firearms and other prohibited weapons in a building where courts do their business is properly interpreted by local officials throughout Texas.
Located on the northwestern edge of Houston, Waller is one of 76 jurisdictions targeted by an open carry activist who has threatened to file suit seeking to reverse their policy of interpreting the legislative intent of the concealed carry handgun law passed in 1995 in its definition of what constitutes the area in courthouses where firearms may not be legally carried.
Judges, prosecutors and police say the ban extends to the entire building; Pastor Terry Holcomb of Carry Texas says it’s just the area where the Courts and their clerks’ offices are located. The prosecutors who have answered the challenge have the transcript of the Senatorial debate offered in an amendment to the original bill. It clearly records the words of the Senator who asked for the amendment as he argued that no one should carry a gun anywhere in a building where courts decide the issues at law that are decided there.
No one is arguing that intense emotions do not well up in those who come to the trials of family members who are penitentiary bound, or victims of violent crime, divorced spouses or parents facing the loss of their children to protective services, and defendants facing money damages in judgments they can’t afford to pay.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced last week he is filing suit to challenge judges’ bans of firearms in their courthouses. As they say in the Judges’ chambers: When in doubt, STALL…
The location of the prosecutors who chose to fight back, Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Dorsey and Sean Whittmore, is as symbolic as the heat of that evening sun in cotton season.
The weather is just as hot this August as it was a year ago, when a Department of Public Safety Trooper wrestled a black woman to the ground and jailed her for what he swore were her “combative and uncooperative” actions after a 2015 traffic stop.
Brian Encinia would in January face indictment after a special prosecutor convinced a Grand Jury he committed perjury in a sworn affidavit supporting the arrest of Sandra Bland, a Prairie View A&M University alumnus from Chicago once active in the student movement to register voters on-campus. She refused to roll her window down and extinguish her cigarette. She had returned to the Prairie View area from her home in the north to help greet prospective students and conduct orientation tours of the university.
Three days after the arrest, deputies at the Waller County Jail found her hanged in her cell, a plastic trash bag tied around her neck. An investigation concluded she died by her own hand.
The Texas Department of Public Safety fired Encinia for the way he handled the arrest of Sandra Bland.
For what it’s worth, an examination of the nearly hour-long video from the officer’s dash cam clearly shows Ms. Bland accelerating through a stop sign at an intersection on the divided boulevard where Encinia had just released another motorist following a roadside stop.
As he followed her car to a stopping point, she abruptly jerked the vehicle to the shoulder and slammed on her brakes. Encinia narrowly avoided a rear-end collision. At one point, the trooper fairly pleaded with the woman, saying he only wished she would sign a non-criminal warning citation, something that results in no court summons and no mention of a violation on a person’s driving record.
Millions of television viewers saw only an abbreviated clip of the entire film, a YouTube video of only a couple of minutes, which showed the confrontation over the window and putting out the cigarette, the struggle to place her in handcuffs.
Nevertheless, Grand Jurors made a finding that Encinia lied in his affidavit of warrantless arrest to a magistrate and indicted him for falsifying a government document.
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
Demonstrators at the Waller County Jail displayed rage in their rhetoric, parading around the square block surrounding the collection of squat buildings in the August heat of 2015, shouting obscenities at the few newsmen gathered to snap their photos, turning their backs to the cameras. It was an ugly scene, the kind that produces a feeling of shame that one is even there.
Who needs it? No one, especially homeowners who stood in the humid heat, their mouths agape at what they saw and heard.
A journalist with a Nikon bathed his face in darkness as he hid from the camera.
A group of supporters with their children in tow accompanied the protesters. One man was clearly seen displaying a handgun he had partially pulled from the pocket of his knit hoodie. Click for full size.
Only a few days later, police arrested a 25-year-old former Prairie View student who also flunked out of the University of Houston, a person repeatedly arrested for minor offenses who once escaped prosecution for aggravated assault at a homeless shelter in a dispute over a remote television control when a shrink declared him mentally incompetent. Authorities hospitalized Shannon Miles briefly. According to the murder complaint, he ran up behind Deputy Harris County Constable Darren Goforth at a convenience store in the area with a .40 caliber handgun later recovered at his home. Investigators say they will testify he fired the weapon 15 times into Goforth’s head and torso.
Investigators termed the murderous assault an “unprovoked, execution style ambush.”
The Harris County Sheriff later told the world media that he considered the killing “retaliation” for the fact that Goforth wore a police uniform.
In April of this year, Deputy Constable Alden Clopten escaped death when his bullet proof vest stopped six bullets fired from a handgun at a convenience store in a suburb not far away.
In their lawsuit, Waller County prosecutors are asking the judge to declare that signs notifying the public that it is a criminal offense to bring knives and guns into the building are not a violation of the open carry law that took effect on January 1, 2016.
They are also asking the judge to say that the entire premises of any courthouse or building that houses courts and their offices are off limits to those who are carrying firearms or knives.
Pastor Holcomb reportedly said that’s an attempt to stifle the public’s opinion on the matter.