Twin Peaks defendant Matthew Clendennen in campaign video
Waco – It was as strong an admonishment as District Judges ever give elected Criminal District Attorneys.
Visiting Judge Doug Shaver reacted to a motion from defense counsel complaining of the use of the video image of the defendant Matthew Clendennen in a campaign video, saying, “Mr. Reyna, you should be ashamed of yourself.”.
He told the district attorney that his use of the images and the narrative of the campaign video violates a gag order in the Clendennen case that was imposed by 54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson.
Admonishments of practicing attorneys are rarely public – even more rarely delivered in open court.
Though Judge Shaver corrected Reyna in strong terms, he stopped short of granting a motion for a speedy trial, one of many such in the nearly three years since the commercial lawn care provider experienced arrest as a member of a Cossacks support club, the Scimitars, on May 17, 2015, at the Twin Peaks Restaurant.
He was there to attend a Confederation of Clubs meeting regarding legislative items, including a multimillion dollar motorcycle safety fund, handgun open carry legislation still pending, anti-profiling laws, and asset forfeiture repeal.
The judge set a trial date of October 5 in the case following a lengthy conference between the special prosecutors appointed to take the place of the elected DA and his staff following his recusal.
The issues included determining if the numerous delays and postponed court dates constitute a clear cut pattern of malice, the arguments presented behind a closed door. Judge Shaver also overruled a motion to quash a superseding indictment for conspiracy to commit capital murder.
When the attorneys and the judge emerged, he stalked from the courtroom, leaving media wondering what the decision was on a court date.
“October fifth, I guess,” said attorney F. Clinton Broden, when quizzed.
On the witness stand, Clendennen tearfully revealed that he temporarily lost custody of his children during a divorce case that occurred following his arrest, and that he is unable to pass certain background checks corporate clients perform to determine if his organization is trustworthy to take care of their lawn care, and for credit checks.
“It’s like starting over at square one,” he said.
Abel Reyna stood in the well of courtroom and told the judge he wold take the videos down from his web site and cancel further airing of the material in paid political advertisements.
He did not take the stand, though he was summoned as a witness.