Sexually explicit material on a phone turned over to 150 lawyers
Waco – Prosecutors who included private images of sexual activity between a defendant and his wife in discovery material distributed to more than 150 attorneys are guilty of a sex offense, according to a Houston attorney.
Paul Looney, who represents a biker named Cody Ledbetter, will hold a public show down in the McLennan County Courthouse rotunda at 1:30 pm Thursday after filing a motion to disqualify DA Abel Reyna and his staff.
The allegation is that when Ledbetter’s phone was confiscated, the prosecution copied “photos and/or videos of himself and his wife engaging in consensual sexual activity on his cell phone” more than 150 times and distributed the material to other attorneys as discovery material under the provision of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Michael Morton Act..
According to Looney, the couple had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” as to the pictures. Their distribution is a misdemeanor violation of the Penal Code, he alleged.
“The District Attorney and his assistants have committed numerous crimes against Mr. Ledbetter and his wife by knowingly revealing these intimate images on his telephone without any legal excuse,” Looney wrote in his motion.
“The State has been claiming a ‘duty to disclose’ that never applied to these images and that is simply an outrage,” said Looney’s partner, Clay S. Conrad.
‘ACTIONS SIMPLY CRIMINAL’
“They are not protected by immunity; they are not protected by discovery rules, and they are not protected by common sense. Those actions were and still are simply criminal. The District Attorney’s Office in McLennan County can no longer be responsible for the prosecution of Cody Ledbetter; a special prosecutor must appointed.”
Looney argued that “there is no question” that a person can victimize another and still serve as his prosecutor.
“McLennan County citizens have a right to be disgusted…”
The motion cites violation of the penal code, procedural rules and the Michael Morton Act, which calls for exculpatory evidence to be turned over to defendants. None of those measures recognize the distribution of private photos.
Ledbetter, who was arrested on May 17, 2015, has demanded a speedy trial since February of 2016 when Judge Ralph T. Stother scrubbed a court date in 19th District Court in favor of bringing the case of Bandido Jake Carrizal to trial first. That case is scheduled to begin jury selection on Monday, October 9 in 54th District Court under the gavel of Judge Doug Shaver of Houston following the recusals of both Judge Matt Johnson and Judge Strother.