Twin Peaks: To Recuse Judge Matt Johnson

Matt Clendennen is THE VICTIM OF THE POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM OF ABELINO REYNA, according to the recusal motion filed today  

54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson must recuse himself, said Dallas defense attorney, because his former partner is a witness

Waco  – The writ served on the 54th Criminal District Court to day could not be more clear or straightforward.

A judge should recuse himself if his impartiality might be questioned because of the appearance of bias or personal knowledge of disputed evidence in a case.

There is a citation of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, P. 18b.

But a judge MUST recuse himself when a lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law has been a material witness concerning the proceeding.

F. Clinton Broden, the attorney representing former Scimitars MC member Matthew Clendennen served the motion on the Court today. Its chief allegation of complaint is twofold.

First, Judge Matt Johnson cannot serve as judge because he and DA Abel Reyna for a number of years practiced in partnership; secondly, the Judge heard a similar motion to disqualify Reyna in which he, Broden proved up the fact that Reyna made himself a necessary complaining witness by taking over the Waco Police investigation of the violent debacle and police massacre at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015.

Nine died; twenty suffered gunshot wounds, most of them from police assault rifles.

Reyna ordered his staff to prepare an affidavit of warrantless arrest and had it served by his order on 177 persons because they were wearing the patches of motorcycle clubs. He alleged they are members of an outlaw criminal gang and their patches prove that.

He furthermore lied on the witness stand when he told the Court with Johnson sitting on the bench that the Detective who signed the affidavit he had cautioned that he must assure himself that he has personal knowledge of the allegations as to the defendants’ engaging in organized criminal activity.

When recalled to the witness stand, Detective Manuel Chavez testified that he never spoke or even saw Abel Reyna on that date, May 17, 2015.

Broden cites a case known as Ex Parte Ellis, 275 S.W. 3d 109, 116 (Tex. App. -Austin 2008) in which the holding is that “When deciding a recusal motion, courts must use an objective reasonable person test. Indeed, ‘the proper inquiry is whether a reasonable member of the public at large, knowing all the facts in the public domain concerning the judge and the case would have a reasonable doubt the judge is actually impartial. This “standard has been adopted in order that the public, i.e., the person on the street, might have confidence in the judiciary…”

Two visiting judges have ruled in four cases that 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph T. Strother cannot pass such a test when applied to his actions in the Twin Peaks affair.

Judge Johnson overruled and denied the previous motion for Reyna’s disqualification, which motion was reversed by the 10th District Court of Appeals at Waco, and then overruled by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on an appeal by the prosecution. That is the state’s highest tribunal in which criminal matters may be appealed.

Matt Clendennen is completely innocent of the charge, it says in the writ.

Broden argues that all evidence points out that Clendennen participated in no violence, that he fled the scene and took refuge in a restroom when a fight erupted in the parking lot.

The writ filed today points out that, “Thus, when considering a motion to recuse, one must consider more than whether or not the judge has a personal bias against the movant. In addition, one must consider the objective issue of whether a reasonable person would have doubts about the judge’s impartiality.

“Finally, it bears repeating that any reasonable doubt is resolved in favor of recusal. Birkett, 196 S.W.3dd at 896.”

“Abelino Reyna will be a material witness at trial,”  the motion vows.

Apparently, it matters not who the judge may be, the DA will be called as a defense witness to prove up his involvement as an investigator who became involved by interfering with a police investigation.

The defense strategy will be focussed on letting the jurors find the determinations of two facts:

“Mr. Clendennen’s defense at any trial in this matter will be two parts. First, that he is completely innocent, and, second, that he is the victim of the political opportunism of Abelino Reyna,” according to the recusal motion signed by F. Clinton Broden.(cllick here to read the entire motion)

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