F. Clinton Broden, (C)
Dallas – The only attorney truly “gagged” by court order during the continuing Twin Peaks saga other than prosecutors – in one case only – offered a third anniversary critique of the sorry performance by the State of Texas in this mass arrest that took place on May 17, 2015.
F. Clinton Broden has been the second-most outspoken lawyer – right behind DA Abel Reyna, who was also precluded from speech about the cases of 155 indicted, but chose to blab every chance he got. He became a “necessary witness” when he personally took charge of a police investigation of just how 9 persons lost their lives, 20 were wounded, and 177 arrested for being present and wearing certain colors on their clothing.
According to Broden’s arguments, which fell on deaf ears in the criminal justice system, that act disqualified Reyna and his staff from prosecuting the cases, according to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
The key difference between Reyna’s pronunciamentos and Broden’s pleadings are that the defense counsel made his remarks truly effective by couching them in court documents, pleadings not covered by the order of 54th Criminal District Matt Johnson because they are part of the public record, as defined by the Constitution of the State of Texas.
It is also part of the public record that Reyna committed aggravated perjury, a felony punishable by two to 20 years in the state pen, when he testified falsely as a public official as to his preparation of the officer, Detective Manuel Chavez of the Waco Police, as to his complete lack of personal knowledge of the events charged in a “complaint” that was non-specific as to the actual illegal acts of the accused. Each affidavit he signed was completely identical, and did not make specific allegations other than that the accused was either a member of the Bandidos MC or the Cossacks MC or a support club, and wore their colors when the police ambush of an attack on the Bandidos took place.
Hear his remarks about the miserable failure of the “frontal assault” on the United States Constitution by Abel Reyna here:
Thursday, May 17, 2015, marks the third anniversary of the Twin Peaks tragedy and the frontal assault on the United States Constitution by the McLennan County District Attorney. We must never forget that nine people lost their lives that day. We must also never forget the horrible constitutional abuses inflicted upon hundreds of innocent motorcyclists for the past three years.
Thankfully, this year has brought a sea change to the Twin Peaks cases. Of the 177 people arrested three years ago, only 27 still have charges pending. It is truly staggering to consider that 85% of those arrested that day have had their cases dismissed or declined for prosecution within the past few months. Moreover, the only Twin Peaks case that went to trial resulted in an embarrassing repudiation of the State’s theory of prosecution and the idea that people can be guilty for being merely present at the scene of a crime and wearing a certain type of clothing.
Broden & Mickelsen has represented three of the 177 persons arrested on May 17, 2015: George Berman, Matthew Clendennen and Richard Luther.
– Earlier this year, in a shameful attempt by the District Attorney’s Office to save face, Mr. Bergman was offered a misdemeanor plea instead of the life sentence he was facing. Mr. Bergman essentially told the District Attorney’s Office what it could do with its plea offer. Then, shortly before the McLennan County primary election, the State offered to completely dismiss Mr. Bergman’s case with prejudice as long as he agreed to wait for the dismissal.
– As to Mr Clendennen, the District Attorney’s Office recused itself from prosecuting his case this past October and on the eve of trial. The recusal marked the first time a Twin Peaks case was finally being reviewed by prosecutors outside of McLennan County. Four prosecutors pro tem undertook a through review of Mr. Clendennen’s case over several moths and ultimately determined that there was no probable cause to bring the case against Mr. Clendennen in the first place. Moreover, in a rebuke to the McLennan County District Attorney, the prosecutors pro tem made clear in their dismissal motion that the case was dismissed because of lack of probable cause. This language differed greatly from the cowardly language used by Abel Reyna’s office in dismissing the 126 other Twin Peaks cases.
– As to Richard Luther, the charge of engaging in organized criminal activity was reduced last week to a third degree felony charge of tampering with evidence. That charge is particularly ironic in Mr. Luther’s case because of the fact that there is unequivocal video evidence of a Waco Police Officer attributing a pair of brass knuckles to Mr. Luther that did not belong to him. In other words, it was the Waco Police Department that tampered with evidence in his case. Ultimately, the handling of Mr. Luther’s case will likely turn out to be yet another embarrassment for the District Attorney’s Office.
VOTERS RESTORE CONSTITUTION IN A LAND SLIDE
Meanwhile, in this past year, the voters of McLennan County voted to restore the Constitution to McLennan County when they overwhelmingly voted the incumbent District Attorney out of office this past March. It is hoped that the new District Attorney will act swiftly to review all of the Twin Peaks cases and make the determination, as did the prosecutors pro tem in the Clendennen case, that a large majority of these cases were brought without any probable cause whatsoever.
TO SEND MESSAGE TO “SMILEY” PETERSON, J.P. PRCT. 1
* Regrettably, the McLennan County voters did not have the same chance to send a message to Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson because, unlike Abel Reyna, Peterson did not face a primary challenge this past March. Nevertheless, Peterson is the reason that almost all of the motorcyclists languished in jail for several weeks on unconstitutional $1,000,000 bonds only to see their cases dismissed three years later.
MEDIA ‘BLINDLY DRANK’ THE KOOL-AID
The public should also not forget that, three years ago, most of the media was bamboozled by Reyna and Waco Police Department Spokesperson Patrick Swanton with multiple press conferences about roving biker gangs who did not come to Waco to “drink and eat barbeque.” Media outlets around the world were quick to regurgitate this “fake news” and to repeatedly publish and broadcast mug shots of those being arrested without probable cause. Nevertheless, now that the truth has been exposed, most of the media outlets that were so eager to presume guilt three years ago have lost interest. Amazingly, even today, some media outlets continue to publish or broadcast mug shots of bikers as their cases are being dismissed and continue to use the term “gangs” to refer to the motorcycle clubs present at Twin Peaks on May 17, 2015. It is truly unfortunate that, for the most part, the media outlets that blindly bought into the law enforcement narrative that was being spread three years ago have yet to look inward and start to own the part they played in allowing the prosecution to run amok in the days following the Twin Peaks incident.
VALUABLE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Looking back at the past three years since this tragedy, there are valuable lessons to be learned. First, it is hoped that this incident serves as an abject lesson to prosecutors that, in America, you are supposed to investigate first and charge later; not the other way around. Second, it is hoped that the results of the March primary election send a clear message to district attorneys that their job is to serve justice not to seek to advance their careers on the backs of innocent men and women. When they do so, the electorate will not be kind. Third, it is hoped that judges learn a lesson from the travesty that was caused by JP Peterson in the setting of unconstitutional and unconscionable “one size fits all” bonds and that judges help advance the bond reforms that are being promoted around the country. Fourth, it is hoped that the media learns that it is more important to get it right than to get it first and that the media learns a lesson from its zeal to spread the prosecution narrative three years ago.
In the end, justice has begun to prevail in the Twin Peaks saga. Nevertheless, justice was three years in coming and came at a very heavy price to many individuals and their families.