Jerusalem-On-The-Brazos – There is an anecdote about Pablo Picasso, the abstractionist innovator, enduring a visit from the Gestapo in his Paris studio.
In a wastepaper basket, there was a sketch for what wound up as the tapestry “Guernica” depicting in cubist projection the carpet bombing of that medieval city by German and Italian planes. It hangs in a spaciously heroic gallery of the United Nations in New York.
In fact, it was covered by screens during a famous press conference held by then Secretary of State General Colin Powell, an event filled with falsehoods about the weapons of mass disappearance the blue helmet inspectors couldn’t find in the Iraqi wastes. Shortly thereafter, the West Point graduate inculcated with the concept of “duty, honor, country” resigned his post.
The Gestapo officer, a ferret to the core, is said to have abruptly demanded to know, “Who did that?” as he pointed to the sketch.
Picasso replied, “You.”
Jury watching is an art of court reporting. The eyes are the windows of the soul, and in the 54th Criminal District Courtroom, the best seat in the house directly opposes the seated jurors across the well of the court.
He shall of needs remain nameless, but there is a man seated on the front row of the jury box who bears a striking resemblance to a younger Pablo Picasso.
During testimony from the two BATFE witnesses who dominated the trial of Bandido Jake Carrizal, he has steadily maintained an even strain, sometimes placing his chin in the splayed fingers of his right hand as if he is holding his head like a lamp he uses to illuminate that which he seeks. When the witnesses have strayed from their previously ordered role as witnesses of expertise, their remarks to be limited to their personal opinions based on their experience, our Picasso look-alike abruptly rotates his very large, very black eyes abruptly to his left, beaming them straight at the witness slumped in the stand.
It is at these moments that one gets the sense that not only is our juror a keen observer of reality, but one who is very aware he is living inside the borders of an occupied nation, the former republic of Texas of the United States of America. He is here under the dictate of a couple of political agents who are laying the outlines of a show trial designed to isolate and demonize men and women who live a certain – well, lifestyle. Their opinions seek to condemn and objectify their clothing, items of personal adornment, their associates and their beliefs as they appear as acronyms on embroidered patches.
A tiny inflection of a half smile insinuates itself across his broad and suddenly protruding lips, vanishing as if forever; then he swivels his eyes back, front and center, still holding his head by the chin, as an appliance of perception, any time the witness strays from his agreed path as an expert, offering an opinion based on personal experience.
It was at just such a moment when Judge Matt Johnson seemed to reach a moment of clarity in the low blood sugar just minutes before lunch on Friday.
Picasso suddenly homed in on the witness, cut camera left, when Officer Doug Pearson of Aurora, Colorado said that there is evidence on Bandido Marshall Mitchell’s phone that indicates the Bandidos planned an armed raid on the Cossacks at Twin Peaks at noon on Sunday, May 17, 2015, in the parking lot of that restaurant where they had gathered for a political meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents.
When defense counsel Casie Gotro spoke sharply, saying “Why don’t I know that?” Picasso swiveled his eyes back front and center, calmly folded his hands, and put his head back on its pedestal. He resumed his solemn game face expression of neutrality and sat through the resulting brouhaha of recrimination with a neutral affect.
Johnson’s fair complexion turned as red as a tomato from the top of his scalp to his hands and fingers thrusting out of the cuffs of his well tailored suit coat.
He fairly shouted, “I thought I signed an order for the Waco Police to make all that evidence available to you!”
Indeed, he had. We all watched him sign the order earlier in the week. We also sat through his numerous rulings against defense objections that the witnesses in their political show testimony had exceeded the motion in limine intended to confine their expert testimony to their opinion based on personal experience and not of factual recollections or observation regarding the instant case.
The expert slipped, made a stutter step; he testified about something of which he has personal knowledge.
DA Abel Reyna tried to recover, saying the defense has had simultaneous discovery. Lead Prosecutor Michael Jarrett made a valiant effort to chime in, but the judge was having none of it.
You might say he had a moment of clarity. The cops are sore about the DA and his staff, namely Michael Jarrett and Mark Parker, who drafted the infamous 177 identical affidavits of warrantless arrest no cop on the scene would sign, but which Manuel Chavez, summoned from a remote location while working on another case, did sign – when he had no personal knowledge of the vague and non-particularized allegations contained therein.
Quite simply, the DA took their case away from them; he called a halt to their meticulous investigation of capital murder and aggravated assault, stole their thunder, snatched it all away and took over as the self-appointed Chief of Police.
Ouch! Mama, get the red ass salve. We will need a batch of it.
Quite simply, the local gendarmes aren’t having it. They won’t cut loose of the evidence they have been ordered to produce, and that’s the issue that gets so long and loudly argued behind the closed door of the judge’s chambers – now in its second run following the recusal of Judge Ralph T. Strother of the 19th Criminal District Court.
Same song, second verse, except now, when it’s time to put up or shut up, call a complaining witness and get the show on the road, the man who signed the arrest affidavit and narrative is on vacation, somewhere in the far-flung and watery province of French Polynesia. One can only hope that the unquiet soul of Captain Bligh is threatening a hundred lashes for abandoning his post at the Six Shooter Courthouse.
Both men will face a Dallas District Judge to answer for their proven falsehoods as soon as a Special Prosecutor is appointed and the bench schedules the hearing that could result in their arrests for either aggravated perjury or perjury – that is, lying under oath.
The floggings will continue at 9 am on Monday, when jurors will take their seats and we the people will sit by, listening carefully.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, tune in to Texas Biker Radio at 8:30 pm tonight, Sunday, October 15 for a rag chew about all this. We are a quartet, ready to rock and harmonize about this epic as a chorus – Butch “Popeye” Moss, Mel “OG” Robins, Jim the Legendary Parks, and Blake Taylor a young gun with a mission to describe the truth when he sees it – that is, when it’s not out to lunch for the weekend.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary
Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (click image for full size)