MAN IN BLUE SHIRT FINGERED BY DEFENSE IN TWIN PEAKS CASE
WACO – The issue that has torn this city’s public safety services in two once again figured in a major felony case.
Disclosure of confidential informants is so repugnant to police and fire department officials they will sacrifice entire blocks of prosecution in order to preserve the sacrosanct status of snitches.
The policy is so ingrained it has caused a complete shakeup in the structure of upper leadership – the replacement of the Chiefs of Police and Fire Departments – and the ouster of seasoned investigators who won’t budge on the issue, one way or the other.
All that bitter history came crashing down on Wednesday during a conference in the Judge’s chambers of the 54th Criminal District Court when the Honorable Matt Johnson made a decision that rocked and shocked the law enforcement and biker communities.
A certain tape recording made by Detective Jeff Rogers, the police gang unit specialist investigator came to the defense in a massive data dump just as the state rested in the case of Bandido Jake Carrizal – arrested at Twin Peaks Restaurant on Sunday, May 17, 2015, when a crowd of rival club members rat packed him and a much smaller contingent of the venerable club’s representatives as they arrived at a Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting around noon.
The tape is undocumented as to who is talking – a trio including Rogers, undated or the time and place noted, and the names of the two informants omitted.
Defense attorneys working the case have long held that the operation put on the the State Department of Public Safety, a number of local police departments, the Federal government and the Waco Police had too many moving parts, was too precisely planned and executed in all its elements for there to have been no coordination between all these agencies and the members of the aggressor organizations, the Cossacks Motorcycle Club and its support clubs.
Reading a motion to disclose the identities of undercover operatives and confidential informants authored by Dallas attorney F. Clinton Broden is a study in the conundrum.
Behold, this filing Broden made many months ago: “It appears that law enforcement officials infiltrated and/or had confidential informants inside the Cossacks Motorcycle Club prior to the incident at Twin Peaks. First DPS reports indicated Waco Police Detective Jeff Rogers was receiving information from a ‘source of information’ regarding the Confederation of Clubs meeting at Twin Peaks and that the Cossacks planned to attend.”
The attachments to the motion reveal a high degree of collusion between the DPS and federal prosecutors working a racketeering case against the former President of Bandidos U.S.A. Jeffrey Pike of The Woodlands near Conroe, and John Portillo, former Vice President of the national club, who lives at San Antonio.
Attachment A is the DPS compendium of investigative reports that led to the operation and reveals the scope of the Waco gang detective’s role.
Attachment B is the detailed indictment of Pike and Portillo, with its exhaustive analysis of the alleged structure and purposes of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
Among the chief allegations of federal prosecutors is the notion that the Bandidos “declared war” on the Cossacks.
All of this seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the police agencies, the prosecutor’s office, and the judge’s chambers – until now.
How, exactly, legally and in observance of constitutional principles, does the state intend to prove its allegations of complaint in the vague and complicated elements of the violation of the Texas statute that defines a combination of criminal members of an organized street gang acting together to commit capital murder and/or aggravated assault?
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affords a defendant the right to a speedy and public trial, “to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory means of discovery of the witnesses against him, and to have the assistance of counsel for is defence.”
The defense bar throughout the U.S. calls that the confrontation clause, and in an underworld milieu increasingly populated with secret agents vying for dominance in the world of international espionage funded by crooked dealings, narcotics trafficking that far outstrips entire local economies, and a large population of public officials who are in the game for all they can grab, the nature of confidential information is king.
That’s why the City Attorney’s office battled tooth and nail to keep the subject out of the record in the Twin Peaks trials, appealing to the Attorney General that the ongoing investigation and the work product of law enforcement dictates that the information is excepted from the public record and cannot be revealed for any reason.
All that came to a screeching halt during the noon hour on Wednesday.
When the Judge emerged from his chambers, he calmly stated that the identity of the undercover informants has a real part in the issue of guilt or innocence of Jake Carrizal, and must of needs become part of the record. The individuals are in fact witnesses, and their identities revealed in order to allow Carrizal the opportunity to be confronted in public with their allegations. Anything less is a proceeding in a kangaroo court.
He uttered his ruling verbally with the proviso that the information not be revealed to the public, but used “for trial purposes only.”
This set the legal world abuzz – statewide. Many experts hold that such an order isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, that there are conditions precedent that must be observed, the order having been set in type, the ramifications of its scope known and thereby adjudged and decreed for the permanent record.
As the news flashed forth, this order set the columns of social media ablaze. Almost immediately, defense counsel Casie Gotro revealed the identity of the mysterious man in the blue shirt, who appears to have signaled the assailants when the Bandidos were arriving on their motorcycles by a circuitous route through the parking lots of the Central Texas Marketplace between the Twin Peaks and Don Carlos restaurants.
He is allegedly a public employee of the Road and Bridge Department.
As he did so, he ran with knees and hands pumping through the front door of the Don Carlos bistro, where his image is clearly captured on video surveillance cameras, as it was on the sidewalk.
He is a witness and his name is on a subpoena the defense wants to serve on him. That’s a matter of public record in Cause No. 2015-2263-C2, State of Texas v. Christopher Jacob Carrizal
Curiously, neither he, nor gang expert Detective Rogers were called as witnesses in the state’s long, drawn-out case against the Bandido Carrizal, which began on October 9 and will resume on November 6, the span of an entire lunar cycle.
It is written. The moon is a harsh mistress.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary