Jurors had been ordered to return to 54th Criminal District Court to hear evidence and testimony from the defense in the trial of Dallas Bandido Jake Carrizal, who is indicted for two counts of state organized crime offenses stemming from a deadly gunfight at Twin Peaks Restaurant on Sunday, May 17 , 2015.
As jurors entered the court, Judge Matt Johnson told them that the trial is moving much too slowly, something that can’t be helped, and he told them the defense had received a lot of new information. He ordered them to return next Monday at 9 am.
Defense Counsel Casie Gotro had asked for more time to prepare her case, to develop the ability to examine defense witnesses in view of the revelations received a few minutes before noon, said the judge. Matters took an even more curious turn at that point.
Here is a sample of the dialog between Judge Johnson and defense counsel after jurors had departed.
They were discussing an audio tape received from the City of Waco’s legal department after the Attorney General’s Office ordered them to produce it as possibly exculpatory evidence.
Said Ms. Gotro, “Your honor this audio tape of Detective Jeff Rogers (Waco’s gang officer). He’s speaking with two individuals who are not named.” She further explained that the documentation of the conversation is absent as to time, place and subject.
Johnson wasted no time making his ruling. He said, “We are moving the Jake Carrizal trial along as fast as he can. I am sincerely sorry.”
He then addressed Ms. Gotro’s concerns about the audio tape she says is undocumented.
“With regard to the two…I do find that a reasonable cause exists that the identities of the witnesses will affect the finding of guilt or innocence.” He emphasized that the identities of the speakers are not to be disseminated, but to be used for “trial purposes only.”
No further description was forthcoming as Ms. Gotro readily agreed.
Witnesses scheduled to testify this week had planned to fly in to Waco. They cannot make it at a later time, so they will be questioned outside of the presence of the jury in the presence of counsel and the judge. The Court Reporter will take down their testimony and a videographer will record the event.
This will be shown to the jurors when they return. Further, the officers of the Court, including the judge, said nothing.
During remarks in the corridor, Ms. Gotro told media that “We had a scheduling anomaly. It’s rare, but it happens. When it does, we handle it this way. Rarely happens.”
She was very circumspect in her remarks.