RECUSAL MOTION IN BANDIDO JAKE CARRIZAL’S CASE “STILL WAITING TO BE FILED,” SAYS LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM…
Waco – Retired Visiting Judge James Morgan of Comanche granted a motion by three defendants in the Twin Peaks murder conspiracy trials to remove 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph Strother.
He applied the test prescribed by law, and found that the average man on the street would say, “Judge, you’re just not being fair.”
In a grueling day-long hearing held earlier, two veteran judges, former Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Charlie Baird, and State District Judge hammered at Strother’s performance in the issuance of a search warrant to seize body tissue in DNA testing from 72 defendants charged and indicted in his court.
Strother admitted on the witness stand that he had no idea exactly how his order was carried out, “They appeared because I wanted them to.”
In exacting cross examination the two elder judges held his feet to the fire until he admitted that he had signed no actual instrument of search or affidavit of probable cause. Furthermore, his answers indicated that during a period of ill health, he made the arrangements through phone conversations with the lead Court Coordinator on his staff while juggling medical appointments and hospital visits.
In corroborating testimony by the official, Ellen Watson, and attorneys who objected to the alleged lack of due process, the Court learned that the arrangement was made on behalf of the staff of District Attorney Abel Reyna.
At one point, defense attorney Millie Thompson testified that Lead Prosecutor Michael Jarrett threatened when she insisted she must see a signed order or warrant issued by the Court, “What do you want us to do, come out and kick his door down in the middle of the night to serve the warrant?”
His judgment was to be based on a lot of moving parts.
So far as it is known, the selection of jurors for the first of the trials, that of Bandidos Chapter President Jake Carrizal, will begin on September 12, with presentation of evidence and testimony to follow the examination of some 600 prospective called in a special venire.
The defense attorney in that cause, Casie Gotro of Houston, said in open court during a status conference to work out the “mechanics” of jury selection held last week, “I can’t face two prosecutors” – meaning both the DA and the Judge – “and see to it that my client gets adequate legal representation.”
Carrizal has been charged engaging in organized criminal activity at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015, that allegedly led to the capital murder of 9 persons, and the aggravated assault with a deadly weapons of an additional 20. A first degree felony, it carries a possible sentence of not less than 20 years to not more than 99 to be served in the penitentiary.
In a superseding indictment, he is charged with directing the activities of an organized criminal gang from the seat of his Harley-Davidson Motorcycle as he and his fellow motorcycle enthusiasts arrived for a political meeting called by the Confederation of Clubs to review the activities of legislators considering motorcycle safety funds amounting to millions of dollars collected from registration fees, open carry of handguns, and proposed legislation that would prohibit law enforcement officers targeting what the governments of states and the U.S. Department of Justice have termed “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”
The practice of “outlawry” is prohibited by the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights in Article 1, Section 20. It is an ancient concept once practiced by courts of royalty and the nobility, in which a defendant who need not have been present was placed “out law” – literally beyond the protections of the law, to be killed or maimed at the will of the King’s Men, noblemen and their soldiers, or members of the peasantry.
God save the State of Texas!
I am sincere.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary Jim Parks