Prosecutorial Misconduct by Waco District Attorney Alleged by His First Assistant
First things first, remember the big shooting down in Waco last year, where hundreds of arrests were made in the big “biker shootout” at the Twin Peaks restaurant? We’ve discussed it before, read “Waco Justice? 100 Days After Twin Peaks Biker Arrests, Things Look Fishy to Criminal Defense .”
Nov 10th Mistrial in Twin Peaks Trial of Dallas Bandidos Leader
The first trial in the big Twin Peaks Biker prosecutions was declared a mistrial last Friday. This case involves Dallas Bandidos leader Jake Carrizal, president of the local motorcycle club. The jury deadlocked.
And the prosecutor in that trial is McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna. Whether or not there will be a second trial for Bandidos head Carrizal is one thing. Mistrials mean that the state must decide whether it is prudent to spend that much more taxpayer money and prosecutorial time on another trial.
The Carrizal mistrial is a big deal because it was considered the test case for these Twin Peaks prosecutions. If they couldn’t get a guilty verdict with the Carrizal evidence, then it’s questionable how strong their cases are against the remaining Twin Peaks shooting defendants.
But that is not the big question today. Right now, the big deal is whether or not Abel Reyna will be around to sit in the prosecutor’s chair.
Why? Seems DA Reyna’s first assistant has filed an affidavit alleging Reyna has been doing bad things.
Allegations of Prosecutorial Misconduct by Waco DA Reyna
Greg Davis worked for Abel Reyna in the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office until 2014, when Davis quit. According to his sworn affidavit, former assistant DA Davis resigned because he couldn’t turn a blind eye to the misconduct of District Attorney Reyna.
What bad things does Davis allege Reyna was doing? Well, reportedly it involved Reyna playing favorites with his friends and those who helped him get elected.
Where was the affidavit filed? It was introduced into the criminal court record of the Matthew Clendennen, another Twin Peaks defendant. Clendennen moved the court to recuse the Waco District Attorney from being the prosecutor in his case. He filed the Davis Affidavit to support his request to have Reyna removed.
The Davis affidavit was filed in open court records on the same day the Carrizal jury went into 14 hours of deliberations and came back as a hung jury.
What Does Davis’ Affidavit Allege as Reyna’s Prosecutorial Misconduct?
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the sworn affidavit filed in the public record includes the following statement by Greg Davis:
“I ultimately resigned from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office because it had become apparent to me that despite my warnings and advice, Reyna had no intention of stopping his practice of giving preferential treatment to his campaign supporters and friends. I firmly believe that neither politics nor wealth should play any role in prosecutorial decisions and Reyna’s actions were completely antithetical to my beliefs and the oath that all prosecutors take to do justice.”
Davis also provides details on three (3) examples where Reyna told his people not to prosecute criminal cases, even though they had merit, where Reyna’ political cronies were in trouble.
Like one Big Wig who was facing a DWI charge with solid BAC evidence against him. According to Davis, this Big Wig contributed to Reyna’s election campaign after he scooted past that drunk-driving problem.
Voluntary Recusal by Reyna in Clendennen Case
That’s not all. Matthew Clendennen will be the second biker to go to trial in the Twin Peaks Biker Shootout cases. Back in August, Clendennen moved the court to recuse Reyna, but the judge denied the request.
This month, after a second recusal motion was filed by Clendennen, DA Reyna got a subpoena to testify in open court in the Clendennen case.
Reyna responded by filing his voluntary recusal, asking the court to appoint another attorney to act as prosecutor in the Clendennen trial. (The court appointed three Houston criminal defense lawyers to take over the prosecution.)
Now, you can’t just keep filing motions with the judge if he denies your request. You re-urge your request only if you have new reasons to support asking the judge to grant it.
So, when Clendennen came back to the bench with a second recusal request, he had to have new backing – and he did. Clendennen argued that Reyna needed to be recused because he was being investigated by federal law enforcement for prosecutorial misconduct.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Investigates Reyna
According to Clendennen, the FBI is investigating the Waco District Attorney for selective prosecution for political gain.
This is all “hush-hush,” with the Houston judge issuing a gag order on the media and those being questioned being scared to come forward and tell what they know for fear of “retribution.”
See, “Defense attorney alleges in motion that DA Reyna being investigated by FBI,” written by Kristin Hoppa and published by the Waco Tribune-Herald on October 20, 2017.
But we do have some information from the Greg Davis Affidavit. According to reporting by KCEN last Friday, Davis also provides sworn testimony that he and a fellow attorney working under DA Reyna took their concerns to the Texas Rangers and that subsequently, they have been questioned by the FBI.
(We can’t find the full text of the Greg Davis Affidavit online or we’d share it with you here.)
All Kinds of Prosecutorial Misconduct
This just goes to show that there are all kinds of ways that prosecutors can do bad things while in office. In the past, we’ve discussed the horrors of an over-zealous prosecutor tossing aside things that weaken his case or even point to the innocence of the accused in order to win that guilty verdict.
This kind of prosecutorial wrongdoing can result in innocent people going to prison, or even being executed for something they did not do. See:
- Texas Prosecutor on Trial for Prosecutorial Misconduct
- Prosecutorial Misconduct in Texas: Continuing Injustice
- Prosecutorial Misconduct Rules Issued by Texas Supreme Court: Where is Michael Morton’s Prosecutor, Ken Anderson, Now?
- Prosecutorial Misconduct Still a Big, Big Problem: District Attorneys Do Bad Things
- District Attorneys Keep Doing Bad Things: More Texas Prosecutorial Misconduct Stories.
However, in the current situation the allegations are at the other end of the spectrum. This Texas district attorney isn’t accused of putting innocent people behind bars – far from it.
These allegations are that he let guilty people go free because it would personally benefit him. Wow, right?
That’s the crux of the federal allegation of “selective prosecution for political gain.”
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