Since you must wager, wager upon the occurrence whereby you lose the least if you are wrong. – Blaise Pascal, Of The Necessity of the Wager, Pensees
Waco – A walk-on home town candidate who returned from the bright lights and big city of Big D to care for his elderly mother whipped the two-term sitting District Attorney with a suggestion.
Barry Johnson announced his candidacy by saying what would to any pragmatic legal manager in any large law office be readily apparent.
From where he sat, Johnson said, speaking from a background of 30 years experience managing thousands of cases and many lawyers who reported directly to him, it looked like the Twin Peaks cases were a no show.
Why not go through them, discover which ones had little or no probable cause and thus no chance of conviction, and concentrate on the ones in which there is abundant evidence of murder and assault?
As the weeks wore on, his opponent, sitting DA Abel Reyna, did exactly that because he didn’t want to face questions about a federal probe in which members of his staff gave an FBI agent the goods on his crooked and unethical dealings, including selling case dismissals for cash contributions, evidence tampering, and collusion with racketeers.
The reason that was possible was simple enough. It was because of the antics of the “elected Criminal District Attorney of McLennan County,” as Abelino Reyna so often refers to himself.
Reyna made himself a witness when he stepped over the line as a prosecutor the day of the debacle in which 9 died of gunshot wounds in a pool of blood and an additional 20 suffered serious wounds.
Reyna became the “necessary witness,” as lawyer F. Clinton Broden termed his participation by directing his staff to prepare an affidavit of warrantless arrest in a complaint that specified only the fact that those to be arrested were wearing certain “gang” colors held to be those of “outlaw motorcycle gangs” by state police or the Department of Justice.
That single act is prohibited by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which dictates in black and white statutes that it is illegal for a prosecutor to investigate a case, then supervise its prosecution in court. One cannot legally serve both as a police officer – a necessary witness – and a trial lawyer in the prosecution of an accused offender.
In pre-trial hearings in case after case, lawyers followed Broden’s lead by issuing subpoenas for Reyna’s appearance as a witness.
To avoid his appearance, Reyna would then dismiss the cases, and thereby proved Johnson’s legal argument without Johnson having to file a writ or step into the well of a courtroom and argue the point before a judge.
Johnson is a Waco native whose father started as a Justice of the Peace, obtained a law degree, and served as a District Judge for many years.
He campaigned on the twin issues of Reyna’s misapprehension of legal procedure in the Twin Peaks prosecutions and his father’s wisdom, in which he taught him that once a judge or prosecutor crosses the line and gives one defendant special treatment, he must then give all the same treatment.
Quite simply, Reyna proved what Johnson had said on the campaign trail to be quite true, both in a legal and practical sense, and the rest is history.
In a record turnout, 17,277 voters cast ballots with 10,347 choosing Johnson’s brand of legal logic over 6,930 – 60% for Johnson, 40% for Reyna. Thosewho traveled the more frothy and dubious path laid by Reyna, that evil men and women wearing loud colors on black sleeveless jackets arrived in their town astride chrome-wheeled beasts bent on a murderous rampage over – what issue it was never quite clear – found themselves in the minority.
The motive for hundreds of persons who arrived at what they expected would be a political meeting to commit murder and mayhem as part of an organized criminal conspiracy was never very clear, even when it took five weeks to try Dallas Bandidos Chapter Jake Carrizal after a month-long wrangle over the recusal of the judge and the selection of the jury at a cost of $1.5 million.
That debacle resulted in a mistrial, and more than 100 federal civil rights cases are pending in an Austin U.S. District Court alleging false arrest and punitive bail, speedy trial violation, and an impossibility in the concept of the ability to face one’s accusers when even after three years of waiting, the requested discovery items promised by the prosecution are by and large still to be delivered.
One suspects that voters kept a weather eye on the phenomenal costs associated with Reyna’s brand of justice.
The only ballistics evidence presented came from testing three of 14 rifles wielded by police officers on the fateful day, leaving 11 rifles unaccounted for, and the remainder of the evidence of the ballistics firearms tested by an ATF tool mark specialist ruled inadmissible because the technicians who actually prepared the reports were not summoned to testify.
The inept display of legal maneuvering before a jury of confused and frankly bored and inattentive persons who were forced to constantly parade in and out of the courtroom while legal arguments stormed through their days out of their presence led to a humiliating defeat.
Quite simply, Barry Johnson outlawyered Abel Reyna without ever stepping into the courtroom in 155 cases out of more than 190 alleged by We The People Of The State Of Texas because our prosecutor, the man chosen in 2010 to head our law office at Waco, McLennan County, Texas, made a fatal legal error in judgment on the evening of May 17, 2015.
The only way he could be persuaded to admit his error was to threaten him with self incrimination in his testimony, something he has already done by committing aggravated perjury in a disqualification hearing held in August, 2016.
Who needs it?
Even if you can afford it, what do you get out of it? More of the same?
Such a deal.
I am sincere.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary