Twin Peaks Bikers defense attorneys concerned about mishandling of process

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 Waco police officers not facing charges in fatal shooting.

BALCH SPRINGS (CBSDFW.COM) – A lawsuit filed by a Balch Springs man raises serious questions about the police investigation into the shootout that left nine bikers dead outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. WACO, Texas – Defense attorneys representing bikers who were arrested after a shooting outside a Texas restaurant say they don’t have access to key evidence because they refuse to sign the district attorney’s unusual agreement to not share it with media.Legal experts say the mass arrest of suspects and other actions by judges and prosecutors leave open the possibility of many more such suits and bring into question how there can be a fair trial for any of the defendants.

WACO, Texas (AP) — Two Central Texas police officers will not be prosecuted in the fatal shooting of an armed man suspected of trying to steal $80 worth of beef brisket.Five of the bikers indicted in the deadly May fight among motorcycle gangs in Texas filed a civil rights lawsuits this week against McLennan County officials and Waco police, claiming wrongful arrest and incarceration, according to court documents.

On Thursday, nearly 30 attorneys defending bikers arrested after the Twin Peaks shooting back in May restated the case has been mishandled from the start. Attorney Susan Anderson said at a news conference Thursday that the agreement violates the state’s Michael Morton Act, which says prosecutors must permit defense attorneys access — without conditions — to the evidence “as soon as practicable.” Nine people died and 20 were injured in the May 17 shooting. Earlier this month, 106 bikers were indicted on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, but assistant district attorney Mark Parker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that prosecutors weren’t prepared to present the remaining cases. Walter and Esther Weaver, who said they were in attendance that day to support their local biker club, had just arrived at Twin Peaks on May 17 when the shots began to ring out. The suits, filed Tuesday in Austin, are on behalf of five men who have been arrested and indicted for allegedly conspiring to engage in organized crime to commit assault and murder in McLennan County last May.

Bergman’s lawsuit claims that authorities have no evidence that he did anything wrong that day, but still suffered inhumane treatment for 20 days in jail. Defense lawyers for Clendennen, 30, a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, said in the suit he was simply present for a club meeting when the gunfire began on the restaurant patio and did not participate in the shootings. “As gunfire erupted, video evidence conclusively proves that the vast majority of the individuals present at the location did not participate in any violent activity, but instead ran away from gunfire or ducked for cover,” the suit said. For several months now, the district attorney and police officials have declined to comment on the case, citing a judge’s gag order, which prohibits them from commenting publicly. They said the violence resulted from a clash between members of two motorcycle groups: the Bandidos and the Cossacks, both of which they described as gangs.

Waco authorities have been mostly silent on the accusations made by the bikers, citing a gag order, but have said there was probable cause for every arrest and that officers did not fire indiscriminately. The suit also notes that while there is no question that police fired their rifles at bikers, there has been no explanation from from police regarding how many of the dead or wounded were hit by their bullets.

They contended that the indictments might have been based on someone having been arrested at the scene who was wearing biker garb or biker club patches. My office is dedicated, as is the team, to seeing that justice is done in all those cases.” “The charge that all the other indictments went under, they were indicted for organized crime,” Giles said. “But the key crime was murder, and there’s no statute of limitations on murder. Even if they never got indicted, it could theoretically hang over their heads forever.” Nonetheless, Giles said, his clients are in good spirits and are trying to get on with their lives. There are problems with the evidence that they have for each of these men,” said Amanda Peterson, a former prosecutor who now teaches at the South Texas College of Law in Houston.

But she said the grand jury met for only nine hours, leaving only five minutes per case, assuming that no one went to lunch or took a bathroom break during that entire time.

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