Casie Gotro – Attorney for Dallas Bandido Jake Carrizal…
Waco – Every time the woman stands up in the stirrups and speaks to authority – to the State of Texas – you realize all over again, this is the place where we seek a civil solution to a dreaded conflict.
Ms. Gotro is a 90-pound ball of fire, a whirling dervish of an argumentative and incisive professional advocate – a barrister – who orders around 300-pound goons who could snap her leg with a kick, shatter her jaw by backhanding her.
They wouldn’t dare.
She is a walking example of what all the symbolism, the majesty and pomp of the law contains.
Heading into a Monday court date in which jurors will fill out questionnaires with interrogatories about their attitudes governing the behavior of people who ride 800-pound chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected screaming suicide machines to mansions of glory, she pointed out to the Judge – Matt Johnson of the 54th Criminal District – that she still has no idea of who, just who it is, who stood in the parking lot at Twin Peaks and appears to have unleashed the hell and fury of an ambush from a remote location at the apex of an L-shaped ambush.
“I don’t want to put anyone’s life in danger,” she said. And then she explained that surveillance footage had depicted at the time violence began at Twin Peaks, about the time her client Jake Carrizal, with his father and son behind him on their Harley-Davidson cruisers, rode up.
An “undercover officer” in the “true sense of the word,” not a confidential informant, appears, signals with his hand to his head after looking both right and left, and then runs like a bat out of hell to the safety of an establishment next door, his knees pumping, elbows held tight to his sides and arms swinging.
No one knows his name.
“I just know that the guy is a witness, and I want to talk to him,” she concluded.
Momentary, yes. Total. Bleak.
All you heard for a long moment was the hum of the ventilators spewing frosty refrigerated air from the vents.
No paper shuffle. No murmur. No nothing.
The moment passed when Johnson looked at his former law partner, elected Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, and following the Judge’s glance, the DA responded by saying, “I don’t know what she’s talking about…” Then he backpedalled and said that if she means this or that, maybe the other, he could surely accommodate her issue.
Maybe “If they would provide a still copy,” he said, gesturing with both hands in a conciliatory posture.
Johnson readily agreed. He nodded vigorously, looking directly at Ms. Gotro, who stood poised on one foot flatly planted on the carpet, the other a toe-pointed down, ready to pirouette, spring, cut, flank or sprint.
Why not? They’re the home team. Gotro practices from a solo office in Houston. Who would oppose a 90-pound ball of fire in any way other than obliquely after stalling she and the entire defense bar representing 154 people accused of being gangsters in the most violent sense of the word for 29 long months?
It just isn’t done that way, is it?
They are both the sons of judges, Reyna’s dad Felipe an appeals judge who was once the DA, Johnson’s a District Judge who started his career as a Justice of the Peace in Waco.
After the lunch break, as Johnson took guilty pleas from a group of men wearing the dingy gray and grayer striped jumpsuits of inmates, he beckoned to Ms. Gotro and she approached the bench, returning to her seat in the gallery with a CD in hand.
And then, she and her associates walked away into the brilliant sunshine of a mid-day in that gloriously heart breaking beauty of an October afternoon after cotton season in the black lands.
Meanwhile, the column of belly-chained and foot-shuffling inmates went through the motions of signing away every right to appeal, discovery of evidence, private investigation, or deposition they once had, many of them for the maximum period the criminal code of procedure provides – 10 years.
The contrast is stark.
The Twin Peaks defendants were headed for a legislative council meeting during a session considering their rights – motorcycle safety funds, handgun open carry, law enforcement profiling.
They are in similar lock-step, except theirs is diametrically opposed to those who would sign away all their rights in favor of “community supervision.”
The “motorcycle enthusiasts,” many of them members of clubs, as opposed to what the state must prove are “criminal outlaw gangs,” are unanimous in their determination to not plead guilty to the offense for which they face indictment.
Engaging in organized criminal activity.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary