Safety, Security Comes First At Twin Peaks Trial

Waco – No doubt, it’s possible to get a fair trial in this city, but you’ve got to be willing to fight to get it on right downtown with finesse and all that’s fittin’ and proper.

Casie Gotro ended a love-in between 54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson, DA Abel Reyna, lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett, and herself in a mutual atmosphere of commisseration following a visiting judge’s ruling that Johnson should stay on the case, having been found unbiased.

Like Lt. Colombo, she stopped the music, once again, by saying, just one more thing, here.

“We need to talk about the police presence in this case. I count eight armed deputies in uniform in the room. I personally had three sheriff’s deputies following me around all day yesterday. I don’t like the feeling; I don’t understand the purpose for it, and if there is some kind of threat on my life, I’d like to be brought into the loop.”

The judge thought awhile, then said, “I can address that issue with the Sheriff’s Office.” He suggested there must be some solution. Gotro said, “Well, last week you had some guys in here dressed plain clothes. Maybe that would be more unobtrusive.”

Prior to the end – or perhaps the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, of the hearing, from which the media was excluded for quite some time because “Someone…” told a Deputy District Clerk  no one is allowed inside, she aired her grievance with that bugaboo of writing about, investigating, or defending any criminal offense in the jurisdiction. Waco “Tribune-Herald” staffer Tommy Witherspoon told her the BS, that if the attorneys are in there, we’re on the record, and that’s that. He made a call and we all trooped in.

Checking with Sheriff Parnell McNamara later, it was learned, “We’re not doing anything to be mean or ugly to anybody. Our main concern is safety.”

So mote it be.

He said the problem had been solved between District Clerk Johnny Gimble an Courthouse Security Chief Lt. Lionel McGhee.

Done deal. But that ain’t all.

For instance, there is the fact that for months, when she visits the property room to see the evidence of audio taped or videotaped statements of witnesses, she is ushered into a room where the computer has no speakers. But that’s better than the way things started out.

At first, there was no chair.

They say in writing that they bent over backwards to provide for her comfort.

She said, “Come on, Judge, a chair? Speakers? That’s comfort?” They must not have heard her the first time.

It’s like this. When you are involved in criminal litigation, both defense and prosecuting counsel are involved in all proceedings, with the defendant, and the client of the State’s law firm, We The People Of The State Of Texas.

Period. Paragraph.

Now, this is an experienced criminal defense attorney on the road out of Houston, talking to a judge for the multiple go-round on thiss ridiculous dispute, about doing that which the State Bar of Texas has certified her to do, a decision ratified by the Supreme Court of Texas, and some clerk at the Waco Police Department can’t guarantee the chain of custody of evidence if she’s left alone with it for even a minute.

They’re a little short-handed, you see.

The judge spoke up and said, well, why not get a hard drive and put all the evidence on it, indexed, so “If we can admit it into evidence on the hard drive, then everyone agree…I would like to have that in the record so everyone can agree that everything has been produced.”

DA Reyna spoke up and said, “We have absolutely no problem with that, Your Honor. We will even furnish the equipment – speakers, whatever it takes.”

Done.

Jarrett then spoke up by whispering in the damsel’s ear, saying he has no exception to preparation of an order for Johnson’s signature to the effect that Waco PD, should provide access – the greatest problem being staff on duty to guarantee chain of custody.

That’s easy, said the judge. We can seal it by court order, and then the general public can’t get at it. You go by the index, access, and check it out.

Done, and done.

So mote it be.

“Now, we’re getting somewhere,” as Dr. Hannibal Lecter of Baltimore told Clarice Starling of Hubbard,Texas. Hannibal the Cannibal – the fictional character created by writer Thomas Harris who once worked at the Waco sheet. A psychiatrist, Hannibal the Cannibal only ate the free range rude. Yowza!

Whatever.

I am sincere.

  • Legendary Jim

Johnson Recusal Fails

Defense Evidence “does not rise” to level of a recusal order…

Principals in the case of Bandido Jake Carrizal waited for noon and a visiting judge, The Honorable Robert Stem from Marlin…

Waco – Just as the judge began to laud the venire of about 150 persons by saying it wouldn’t be possible to clear cases in McLennan County’s State District Courts without persons just like them serving as jurors, he was brought to a screeching halt.

Defense Counsel Casie Gotro served him with a recusal motion, and he immediately dropped what he was doing.

When he ordered her to remain in the courtroom, she questioned his authority to do so. “By what authority am I being held?” she asked repeatedly as he left the room to contact the regional administrative Judge to call for a visiting judge to hear the motion.

A rumor rippled through the crowded room that he would have her arrested if she did not obey. She stalked out of the room.

When there was news that a visiting judge would arrive at noon to begin her hearing, she returned.

A court officer explained that the judge had “requested all parties to remain here.”

And so a stormy day of conflict began that did not end until half-past 7 pm.

As District Clerk told the venire to return at 9 am on Wednesday morning, a loud groan filled the room. “I know, we’re just as happy about it as you are,” he said.

After a 7 and half hour legal wrangle, a District Judge ruled the level of evidence presented in support of recusal of 54th District Judge Matt Johnson insufficient to warrant his removal.

Judge Robert Stem promised prosecution and defense counsel as well as witnesses and spectators he would work until he had perfected the record of defense counsel Casie Gotro’s motion.

In the final two hours past quitting time, he repeatedly asked her, “Is there anything else,” as she added items and testimony, waited for incomplete transcripts to be printed, and recalled several previous witnesses to clarify their testimony.

As in the successful motions for removal of 19th District Judge Ralph T. Strother, Gotro’s motion focussed on a “DNA docket” to summon the entire list of accused offenders arrested following an extremely bloody gunfight followed by a police massacre with assault rifles that took place at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015.

Similarly, Gotro’s motion questioned just how did court coordinators in the 54th District know on which list to place the accused – the “B” list (Bandidos), or the “C” list (Cossacks).

Lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett was able to prove up the fact that the Court Coordinator determined their club affiliation from a “bridge” list kept by the McLennan County Jail Classification Officer, who used various clues including the suspect’s statements, tattoos, jewelry and the patches on their jackets.

Not all persons on the lists are patch holders in the Bandidos and Cossacks Motorcycle Clubs – which are referred to by the State as “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

Many of them are “affiliated” with one or the other, according to the officers, while their peer motorcycle enthusiasts classify them as “support” clubs or merely “riding” clubs.

Through detailed questioning, the state convinced the visiting judge that Johnson and his staff had no ex parte communication with the DA’s staff, nor did the two judges, Johnson and Strother, collude with one another to deny the defendants due process by summoning them to the courtroom and directing them to the DA’s staff to submit tissue samples seized through search warrants.

Judge Johnson testified that he disapproved a request to just some of the defendants in order to serve a warrant. He insisted that all should be treated equally, and the record shows they were.

At 8 a.m., jurors will be qualified and questioned for a venire of 12 persons who will eventually be charged with making a finding that the Bandidos Motorcycle Club is in fact an organized criminal gang, that they came to Twin Peaks on the fateful Sunday with the intent of harming their rivals, and that Jake Carrizal, served as their director. If convicted, he may be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years incarceration and not more than 99 in the state penitentiary.

Under intense questioning, Austin attorney Millie Thompson explained that she signs her e-mails to court officials “In Resistance,” as “part of the Yellow Dog movement against Trump.”

She vowed of the recusal motion she and a quartet of other attorneys argued successfully to oust Judge Strother that “more are on the way.”

 

 

Hill Country Judge Ousts Strother in Carrizal Case

Retired District Judge Dan Mills

Waco – When the music stopped in the recusal hearing argued by three beaudacious women with bombastic attitudes to have 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph T. Strother recused, there was no bang, and no whimper.

In a conversational tone, visiting Judge Dan Mills, who is retired from the 424th District Court in the four Hill Country counties surrounding Burnet, simply leaned forward during an argument by lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett, and said, “If I follow my first inclination, you’re going to get a judge in the morning. You’re pitching a battle.”

It wound up appearing that he had formed his ultimate opinion when Region 3 Administrative Judge Billy Stubblefield called to describe the nature of the case.

It has a lot of moving parts – the recusal motion – but one of its key components is a smoking gun, an e-mail from Court Coordinator Ellen Watson to Austin Attorney Millie Thompson, who along with a quartet of lawyers obtained the recusal of Strother last month after arguing visiting Judge James Morgan out of his pre-conceived notion to “get this thing done today” by ruling against the recusal. By the time the day-long hearing was over, he said, “I’m going to have to give this a lot of thought.” A week later, he ruled for Strother’s recusal. 

In the e-mail, the lead staffer for the judge described a decision to create a special docket call requiring both attorneys and their clients to appear in court in order to go to the DA’s office to submit tissue samples for DNA testing.

It was this degree of cooperation that led to complaints by Ms. Thompson and others including former District Judge Susan Criss that Strother was acting as both prosecutor and judge.

In the end, Casie Gotro fairly shouted, “The case is without a judge. We need a judge!” Her argument centered on the fact that she is convinced the judge’s bias rendered him in a dual role as both judge and prosecutor. “I cannot give my client effective counsel,” she said, repeatedly, as a result. Strother had made up his mind that Jake Carrizal would go to trial first, and no one else.

The three lady attorneys insisted that if they were the judge, they would settle the question of which case would go to trial first by having all 155 judges in for a conference to learn who is ready to go to trial, who is not, and go on with it.

Judge Criss said she learned that Strother did not want to put his choice of Jake Carrizal as the first defendant to face a jury in his courtroom in a court order because “The defense lawyers would see it and want to know why.”

Millie Thompson said she asked what happened to her setting to try her client, and the judge told her it had been changed. “Why?” Because it did, she said he answered. She asked what if she filed a motion for recusal, and he told her “I will deny it.” He never read a motion before he made that decision. He just declared he would deny her motion.

There were other arguments, including the appointment of retired Waco Police Detective James Hand as foreman of the first Grand Jury to be formed after the Legislature outlawed the pick-a-pal system in which the judge chooses his friends.

When asked about his choice, Strother sked a local reporter “What better person to serve on the Grand Jury than someone who is familiar with the criminal justice system?”

The prosecution argued long and loud that not one person was indicted for the Twin Peaks cases by that particular Grand Jury panel, and Jake Carrizal’s case had been heard by two other such panels.

At the end of the day, five grueling hours of testimony and argumentative, hostile and sometimes vituperative dialogue, nothing would dissuade the visiting judge from his original inclination.

He recalled his first hint about the DNA docket when Judge Stubblefield told him of the special arrangement with no subpoena by the DA’s office, no order to appear, just a special docket.

He said, “When Judge Stubblefield told me about that DNA docket on the phone, it really stuck a very negative feeling in my gut…There’s a smell test that goes with these things. My inclination to grand the motion.”

Prosecutor Jarrett said “I want you to do the right thing.”

Judge Mills’ reply sent a ripple of laughter through the courtroom when he replied, “I don’t know about right!”

The standard that applies, that of what a common man with common sense would think about a judge based on his actions alleged to show bias, would result in a natural man’s inclination to agree with the motion’s allegation of bias on the part of the judge.

And it was all over, except his remark that the new judge to be appointed will probably be 54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson. “They’ll probably just swap judges.”

That’s when Casie Gotro addressed the gallery, saying, “I have been drafting a recusal motion to have Judge Johnson removed from this case, too. It will be filed.”

A venire of what remains of a 600-person special venire – about 160 estimated by the judge – will report at 8:30 a.m. in the auxiliary courtroom to fill out juror questionnaires and go through the process of qualification to serve on the jury.

 

So mote it be.

Truths To Be Self Evident

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – Thomas Jefferson, with an assist by B. Franklin, Printer, “The Declaration of Independence”

CARE BEARS IN BIKER GARB, ONE FOR EACH OF THE EIGHT CHILDREN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN AIRPLANES ON 9/11

Grapevine – It’s fair to say that there is a certain place on a hill near DFW Airport where men and women live with their heads in the clouds.

They are makers of things, mostly aeronautical, but nevertheless, the devices that make the world smaller, easier to navigate, and yet somehow harder to understand.

Col. Wm. P. Brandt grew up right around the corner, left his home in a rural farming community for the Air Force Academy, and returned to an international space port, to practice law after his war, a war of terror prompted by terror at which he was present on the day it all started.

Bill Brandt was on duty at the Pentagon when the big jet hit the building in a fireball, just yards from where he stood by, walking his post on a Tuesday morning  in what weather men described as a day in which flying conditions were what they termed “severe clear.”

On Sunday, he stood at the foot of a memorial dedicated to his neighbors who manned that jet, and all the others forcibly taken from their control by terrorists armed with blades smuggled on board, men terribly upset about a fact of business.

Their common denominator – a certain fundamental religious faith.

They forced neighbors of Col. Brandt to their doom, paying the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and the lives of their passengers, under the duress of the blade, a horror to their minds, regarding a mortal torture to their flesh.

The conflict of those terrible moments – in what currency would the petroleum producing mideast nations be paid for crude petroleum shipped freight over bill to the Port of Houston – or anywhere else. As the reserve currency, the dollar is the reserve denomination per an agreement with OPEC, an agreement hammered out by the Treasurer of the U.S., Willam Simon, the President, Richard Nixon, and the then National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger.

On a table behind him lay eight tiny teddy bears dressed in leather jackets and chaps, each with a biker’s doo-rag and the name of one of   the eight children who lost their lives on board the jets of 9/11 on that fateful day.

Col. Brandt, who is a candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 in his home town, returned to the semantics of the law.

He first sang the National Anthem, then he reminded his listeners of the nature of law, of its strict attention to the meaning of words.

He chose the concept of endowment, the origin of the word coming from the root for dowry, the price of so many goats and this many milk cows paid by a father in return for his daughter’s marriage.

But to be endowed by inalienable rights does not mean one may spend his fortune for just anything.

There are rules, rules of law, of common decency, which must be followed, or the community of the world will pay the price.

And so, each of the tiny care bears will be bestowed by a police officer or fireman, or other first responder upon a tiny person who is afraid, alone, in pain because their moms and dads have been injured, their houses burned down, their cars wrecked, their parents taken away due to arrest or depredation.

It’s a small thing, but so is the meaning of any word so inscribed upon parchment, recorded by We The People as the way of our world.

Brandt, who would be judge, reminded the world of that on this day, the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 Memorial Ride by the Sons Of Liberty Motorcycle Club, in observance of a surprise attack on our nation prompted by a commercial dispute over an essential commodity, its value  accounted in terms of the petrodollar.

Look it up. Interesting word – war word.

So mote it be.

  • The Legendary

The 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial at Grapevine, Northwest Hwy at 1000 Texan Trail, overlooking one of our world’s busiest airports – DFW

Twin Peaks: Cops Knew Of Violence Hour In Advance

Cossack Big Jake preparing to shoot Independent Mohawk on patio – photo gleaned from a DPS video surveillance pole camera

Waco – There is new evidence on the table that implicates prosecutors with withholding “Brady material” that is exculpatory in the Twin Peaks cases, a possible violation of the Michael Morton law.

According to an eyewitness, the armed conflict between members of the Cossacks MC and the much smaller number of Bandidos they confronted upon their arrival at Twin Peaks Restaurant during the noon hour of Sunday, May 17, 2015, could have been easily stopped if only law enforcement had acted.

Speaking on the record for the first time, Sandra Lynch and her husband Mike released their story through an on-line publication on Saturday, September 8.

According to the couple, when they arrived at the location to set up for the Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting to be held there, about 75 Cossacks sporting barely concealed handguns were dominating the patio and parking lot reserved for the political meeting.

Sandra Lynch, who had arranged to reserve the patio area of the restaurant, had arrived earlier than her husband, and she let him know of the potential for danger. He texted Precinct 1 Constable Walt Strickland, requesting backup by armed police, but received only noncommittal response.

Mrs. Lynch alleges in the interview that at least one of the Cossacks who surrounded her menaced her with billards cue balls he carried in a sack on his belt.

She said, in an exclusive interview with The Legendary, “Forty-five minutes earlier it all could have and should have been stopped…At that point there was only 2 clubs there, 6 of mine (Los Pirados) and 75 of the other (Cossacks).”

LEGENDARY: So you and Mike have been unable to comment on any of this now for 29 months, and all the while the exculpatory evidence has been available to the prosecutor?

She replied, “Yes.”

Authorities arrested the Lynches among 177 persons who fled for their lives and took up positions on their bellies on the floor when the bullets began to fly and police armed with AR-15 style assault rifles poured many rounds of suppressed fire into the crowd, killing at least four of the assailants and wounding a number of the 20 felled in the fracas.

They have filed a federal lawsuit that has been on hold pending the forward progress of the Twin Peaks prosecution.

Local judges hearing the cases in State District Court have expressed their opinions that the matter should be held in reserve until there is a resolution of the pending RICO anti-racketeering cases against members of the Bandidos MC in U.S. District Court at San Antonio.

These articles are cited in the motions for recusal. Visiting judge James Morgan ruled during a hearing that yielded the recusal of Judge Ralph Strother in three cases that Tribune-Herald staff writer Tommy Witherspoon should be shielded by law from questioning about his sources for his articles.

Strother’s recusal from the first trial and to be scheduled so far against Dallas Bandido Jake Carrizal is the subject of a motion hearing before visiting Judge Daniel H. Mills of Burnet County on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m., according to the court coordinator.

Jury selection in the Carrizal trial is set for Tuesday morning, September 12 at 8:30 am. He is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and directing a criminal organization in the original and a superseding indictment.

Attorneys representing multiple members of biker clubs involved in the prosecution have filed motions for their recusal and the recusal of the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney, citing news articles published by the Waco “Tribune-Herald” as part of their evidence.

Recused Judge Seeks Delay In Bandido’s Trial

Bandido Jake Carrizal digs into chorizos and eggs with a smile

Waco – The curve balls thrown by practitioners of good old boy justice in this tight, dry, polite, cruel smile of a university town surprise no one, whether the saliva-soaked screwballs, sliders and sinkers come over the plate – or not. 

Most people among the internet keyboard cognoscenti greeted the news that 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph T. Strother would force a hearing into his recusal in a fourth case – the first to come to trial of 155 indicted stem from a police massacre at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015, by saying it is nothing more than a holding action to delay the start of the first case.

This is the beginning of the 29th month since that fateful day, more violent that the gunfight at the OK Corral, in which authorities charged all the defendants with a single, non-specific violation of a murky  conspiracy charge at the order of the Criminal District Attorney, Abel Reyna.

Social media has been abuzz with the opinion that the judge has been delaying justice since the community of motorcycle enthusiasts caught the drift of his conduct in refusing to read 18 subpoenas or order compliance with them – or to even put those summoned on the witness stand to answer questions from Casie Gotro, the Houston attorney who is defending Dallas Bandidos Chapter President Jake Carrizal on two counts of conspiracy – engaging in organized criminal activity, and directing the actions of a criminal organization.

Parnell McNamara, Sheriff, neglected to even show up. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety sat out the hearing without so much as a how do. Assistant Prosecutor Amanda Dillon hid out in the Grand Jury room for an entire business day dodging service of her subpoena.

No one so ordered has turned over any of the evidence sought.

Carrizal’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Tuesday, September 12.

When part of a special venire of 600 persons arrived – about 200 of them who crowded into the auxiliary courtroom of the McLennan County Courthouse on Friday, September 1, the judge had only just begun to brief them on the qualifications for jury duty and what would be expected of them when Carrizal’s attorney had a bailiff hand him a handwritten motion for his recusal.

Visibly shaken, he read how he is accused of assisting the DA’s staff to prosecute her client. And then he had the procsecution, defense and Carrizal join he and the court reporter in private for a quick conference.

According to rules of procedure, he had no choice, other than to decide he will not simply sign the recusal order and have done with the matter.

Ms. Gotro aired her complaints during numerous appearances, all of which saw a defiant judge who refused to bend to her arguments.. Without reading a motion for recusal, he stated at one point in advance that he would deny any such, and plowed ahead.

All the while Gotro protested that she cannot give her client adequate legal counsel while defending a case against two prosecutors, both the DA and staff, and the Judge.

There are numerous citations of his alleged misconduct in her motion and supplemental arguments, many of which were previously argued before visiting Judge James Morgan of Comanche in a grueling day-long hearing that led to his recusal of the judge in the cases of Rolando Reyes, Paul Landers, and Burton Bergman, all of whom were arrested the same day in 2015, as was Carrizal.

Central to the allegations of complaint in those motions are the fact that Judge Strother scheduled a court appearance for both attorneys and defendants at a docket call, and his staff then directed the defendants and their legal representation to proceed from the courtroom to the DA’s office in order to give tissue samples for DNA analysis.

When the lawyers asked for a court order or a search warrant, the DA’s staff at first could not produce one; they demanded that the lawyers see Judge Strother about that. When a warrant was located, it was three days out of date, or “stale”, and therefore invalid.

The ensuing arguments between prosecutors and defenders turned ugly, according to testimony given in the hearing before Judge Morgan.

Lead Prosecuting Counsel Michael Jarrett asked one of the attorneys, former District Judge Susan Criss of Galveston, “What do you want us to do, break down his (defendant Rolando Reyes’) door in the middle of the night and serve the warrant then?”

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Morgan remarked, “I came in here ready to finish this thing today, but I can see now, I’m going to have to give this a lot of thought.”

On August 30, after days of reflection, he granted the three motions for recusal in the three cases.

On Wednesday, September 5, Judge Strother filed a statement with the District Clerk saying he will not recuse himself.

That means that Judge Daniel H. Mills of Burnet County will have to hear the arguments both for his recusal and against it, and then everyone concerned can wait the requisite number of days to see if there will be an appeal to the 10th District Court of Appeals, with all the attendant paper and procedure that entails.

The gavel will drop on the hearing at 1:30 pm on Friday, September 8. Jurors have been ordered to phone the Court Coordinator’s Office after 5:30 pm on that same day to learn their instructions as to when to appear, either on Tuesday, September 12, or at a later date.

And, as usual, here in Six Shooter Junction, there is little doubt that the floggings will continue – at least, until morale improves.

At one point recently, following a frustrating day in court, Carrizal told The Legendary, “To them, it’s a game; but for me, it’s my life.”

He faces not less than 25 years or more than 99 if convicted for engaging in organized criminal activity. If convicted of the charge of directing the activities of a criminal organization, he faces not less than 30 years behind penitentiary walls or more than 99.

No doubt that’s what he means by that remark. We asked no follow-up questions.

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

Public Info Is A Terrorist Threat For Local Official

This is what public information terrorism looks like – at least to the Angelina County Judge, who called an inquiry ‘public info terror’

Lufkin – On Thursday, a citizen looking for answers to his questions about the county budget will meet with the Criminal District Attorney in order to sort out his complaint – that the Angelina County Judge committed an offense under the Local Government Code when he and the County Auditor failed to list the amount of reserve cash on hand in the 2018 County Budget.

David Stua is the kind of man who when thwarted by a public official, turns to the law, the Texas Open Records Act, of the Government Code to obtain the information the legislature has plainly stated is the property of the people, not of officials.

His demands are earnest enough that at one point, he sent 28,000 public information act requests in the space of an hour, prompting the Angelina County Judge and other local officials to labeled him as a “public information terrorist” in a legislative committee hearing at Austin.

Take a look at what passes for terrorism when a citizen takes his requests seriously enough to back them with a criminal complaint:

(click here)

David Stua’s criminal complaint regarding the format of the budget 

The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. Section 552.001, Texas Open Records Act

Strother To Defy Recusal

“I WILL…NOT BE VOLUNTARILY RECUSING MYSELF FROM HEARING THIS CASE (BANDIDO JACOB CARRIZAL)

19TH CRIMINAL DISTRICT JUDGE RALPH T. STROTHER

Six Shooter Junction – When Judge Ralph T. Strother announced over the noon hour on Tuesday to the local CBS outlet, KWTX Channel 10, that he will defy a recusal motion by the defense counsel of Bandido Jake Carrizal, he sent lawyers all over the state into a pow wow by fax, phone, and text.

Only one of three attorneys who had previously obtained his recusal in other cases was available for comment.

Former Galveston District Judge Susan Criss, who is defense counsel for Rolando Reyes, was thunderstruck.

“I am shocked,” she said, beside herself….”I don’t understand. Why would he think that this case is any different that the three we presented? The circumstances are the same…He’s still subject to the rule” – [Rule 18(a)(b) Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires a judge must immediately proceed to a hearing on a recusal motion, or turn the entire case including all notes and exhibits, over to the Regional Administrative Judge, in this case District Judge Billy Stubblefield at Georgetown.] – “Judge (James) Morgan signed the orders. We sent him a letter, and he said they are on file in the Clerk’s Office.”

She hurried away from the impromptu interview to read the exclusive KWTX interview.

According to the docket for this coming Friday, September 8, Carrizal’s counsel will be in the 19th District Court and need not bring the defendant for a final pre-trial conference preceding jury selection, which is scheduled to proceed on Tuesday, September 12.

A Court Coordinator’s staff member and the lead Bailiff both said it is an unknown quantity if any case scheduled for trial will go forth as planned.

“There are many moving parts, and many more variables,” explained the uniformed Deputy. “No one knows.”

He did agree to go the the Judge’s chambers to query the Judge if The Legendary will be allowed to listen to the void dire examination of the venire and see how the jury selection process proceeds from the questionnaires to the prosecution and defense counsel’s inquiries of the prospective jurors and their strikes for cause and for peremptory reasons.

Judge Strother has previously denied a motion by Carrizal’s defense counsel Casie Gotro for an emergency stay of further proceedings, and a motion for recusal.

Her motion for recusal brought to a stop the examination of a 600-member venire at a previous hearing as the judge was briefing prospective jurors on their qualifications, what is to be considered evidence, and the scope of their task in returning a verdict.

 

Overdue Info Request On DA’s Pre-Trial Releases

GOOD OLD BOYS HOLDING FACTS HOSTAGE FOR $5,100 CASH

HUNDREDS RELEASED ON SERIOUS CHARGES WITHOUT TRIAL

Waco – Before close of business today McLennan Criminal DA Abel Reyna will field a demand for response on 4,300 public information act requests.

A duo of public information act specialists – one of whom has been labeled by an east Texas DA as a “public information terrorist” – obtained a favorable ruling from the Texas Attorney General back in June on a March request for information about a pre-trial intervention program that allows defendants to go free of their charges.

DA Abel Reyna explained that his program began as a way to collect hot checks without putting defendants in jail where they can’t pay.

But at some point, he expanded the program. Records obtained so far indicate that persons charged with felony DWI, abandoning a child,  assaulting a public servant and crimes against nature involving children have escaped their date with a judge.

Ordinarily, since the material regards charges that have been dismissed and resulted in no conviction, the information is private.

But when the DA’s staff did not meet a deadline triggered by the provisions of the Open Records Act, the DA ruled  that all information requested must be made public. The order for release issued more than 90 days ago in OR2017-13053.

In a published report, Reyna explained the program by saying:

This program is not intended to be soft. but it allows you to think outside the box and to not clog up the criminal justice system with individuals who don’t need to be there so we can better focus on the ones who do need to be there. The program is an opportunity. It’s not a right.

An original pubic information act request for names of persons so diverted from the court system resulted in a database of 481 names and their offenses. One may view list that by clicking here.

A trio of public information activists including R.S. Gates and David Stua, who once hit the Angelina County District Attorney’s office with 28,000 PIA requests in the space of one hour, worked through Labor Day weekend to surgically redact the information required by the AG’s ruling. That resulted in altering each of the original information requests into 9 separate requests for each of the original 481 records obtained.

Said R.S. Gates of his motives in making the request, “Because participation most often leads to dismissal of charges, the records are normally beyond the reach of the Texas Public Information Act. Being beyond the reach, the lack of public scrutiny has led to speculation of shady dealings.”

He added that he and his colleagues are expecting loud protests from the DA’s staff and local government officials. Nevertheless, according to the Open Records Act, it’s not up to the government to decide what the people should know because the records belong to the people. Government officials are merely custodians of the records

ONE WILL FIND AN AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH MR. STUA HERE:

 

 

Fired Waco Narc Who Beat Up Doc Watching Carrizal Case in Court

Police Evidence Tech Kalinske pins new badge on Jason Barnum

Waco – Observers in the gallery during the fiery pre-trial hearings held in the first Twin Peaks case against Bandido Jake Carrizal have noticed two plainschothesmen in the mix of bailiffs keeping order.

They are deputies of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, dressed in business wear and ties, with noticeable bulges of big handguns in concealment holsters  printing on their jackets.

At times one will sit in the empty jury box of the auxiliary courtroom, and then alternate with a rear corner of the cavernous room, while the other sits in a row of chairs along the wall. Then they sit together for a time before shifting positions for different angles of view.

They keep their eyes on the members of the gallery.

Both were present during the day-long hearing on the motion for recusal of 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph T. Strother from the cases of three defendants, Paul Landers, Burton Bergman, and Rolando Reyes, granted last week by visiting Judge James Morgan.

They are Deputies Blanco and Jason Barnum, a former Waco Police narcotics officer who was dismissed from his job as a sergeant following an altercation in which he forced a local doctor’s car off the road, pulled him from the vehicle and beat him with his fists over his attentions to his wife.

The couple are reportedly going through a divorce at this time.

The arrangement is causing ripples of consternation among defendants who noticed the presence of the officers dressed in plain clothes because they are obviously doing police work, but the conbination of their suits and ties and their implacable facial expressions are somewhat intimidating, it is said.

According to one source who requested anonymity pending the permission of an attorney to speak about the case, “He texted on his phone all the way through the hearing, so someone he was working with would know what’s happening in court”

Barnum is also reportedly one of the policemen who dressed in the garb of a biker and was seen in the presence of Cossack Big Owen Reeves during the time before Bandidos arrived at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015.

Said Sandra Lynch, who reserved the patio at the restaurant for the Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting and arrived with her husband Mike early, “I say it’s him.” The couple, who were arrested on the identical charge as everyone else – engaging in organized criminal activity – have filed a federal civil rights suit against the Waco Police, the DPS, District Attorney Abel Reyna, and Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson. That case along with all others filed in an Austin U.S. District Court is pending until the result of the criminal cases is made clear in State District Court.

Some have gone so far as to say in private remarks that they saw him with the Cossack at bike nights leading up to the tragic confrontation. Members of the rival club are clearly depicted on surveillance video shooting members of the Bandidos before they are then cut down by fire from gunmen unseen by the camera’s iris.

Deputies Blanco and Barnum standing outside the courtroom