A district judge in Dallas County has dismissed the Court of Inquiry into allegations a Twin Peaks defense attorney made against McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna and Waco Police Detective Manuel Chavez.
Defense Attorney Clint Broden, who represents Matthew Clendennen -- one of the Bikers charged with engaging in organized crime, first sought the Court of Inquiry on Oct. 6, 2017. In his petition, Broden argued Reyna and Chavez gave conflicting testimony during an August 8, 2016 disqualification hearing in Waco, where they were asked whether or not they had communicated the night of the shooting when the bikers were rounded up. During that disqualification hearing in 2016, Reyna claimed he and Chavez had spoken, while Chevez said they did not.
But, on the question of whether or not those differing accounts constituted perjury, Judge David Peeples, who oversaw the Court of Inquiry, turned to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Under that code, Peeples wrote neither Reyna nor Chavez could be convicted of perjury if proof that one of their statements was false rested "solely upon the testimony of one witness other than the defendant." With that in mind, the judge wrote that there was insufficient reason to justify investigating perjury charges.
Peeples also ruled Broden did not go about getting the Court of Inquiry in the proper manner. Specifically, Peeples said Broden did not provide sufficient reasons why he sought a Court of Inquiry in Dallas instead of from one of the other district judges already in Waco.
"The perjury allegation does not justify a Court of Inquiry, and the circumstances of this case do not justify bypassing all five of McLennan County's district judges," Peeples wrote in his decision.
Reyna emailed the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
I believe the plain language of the Judge's order clearly points out that this was an allegation without any evidence and an abuse of the process by Mr. Broden. I encourage everyone to read the Judge's order.
Broden emailed the below statement in response to the judge's decision.
I believe I fulfilled my ethical responsibility by bringing this scientifically impossible contradiction in testimony to an impartial judge to determine if a Court of Inquiry should be initiated. I am disappointed that this process was not completed as contemplated by the Code of Criminal Procedure. Having fulfilled my ethical responsibility, I consider my role in this matter to be concluded. Of course, it will be up to any other attorneys aware of the scientifically impossible contradiction in the testimony at the August 8, 2017 to determine whether another Court of Inquiry should be requested so that a decision can be made after a judge takes testimony and evidence on the matter. Likewise, it will be up to the public to compare the testimony from the August 8, 2017 and come to their own conclusions.
I further understand that Mr. Reyna will have another opportunity to testify under oath at a hearing in the Twin Peaks case set for Thursday of this week and I look forward to hearing that testimony.
The May 17, 2015 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco left nine people dead, many injured. Law enforcement then arrested 177 people. Most of them were later charged by Reyna's office.
The first Twin Peaks trial of Jake Carrizal ended in a mistrial in November 2017.
Below is an excerpt of the transcript of the testimony in question.
Question: Prior to the affidavit being given to Mr. Chavez or Detective Chavez to sign, did you allow him to have any input?
Answer (Abel Reyna): Absolutely. Absolutely. And a lot of the input -- that's what I was telling you about the hole from communication. There was a gap in communication between what was going on at Twin Peaks and what was going on at the convention center. And I remember getting the affidavit and it was, I believe, a draft somewhat of it. And I remember the draft made its way to Manny Diaz -- I mean, Manny Chavez. And Manny said something like -- to the effect of, this looks good. But I, at that point in time, I cautioned him and told him, Manny, you need to read every single line and word in this affidavit and if you cannot swear to it, then you need to go back out there and get on the phone and call the people at Twin Peaks and make for sure that you can swear to everything in this affidavit. And I -- I told him that and I stressed it to him. And he says, no, okay, I will. And I said, that's a draft. We're working on it. You better make sure that you can swear to everything in that affidavit. And you need to go back out there and talk to the people at Twin Peaks. You need to talk to the people that had the intel leading up to it, the people that were -- that were sitting out there watching these guys try to kill each other. You need to know every single bit of it. And he said, I will, I will.
Question: But just -- and I think you were fairly, but I just want to make sure I understand it. It's your testimony that [Detective Chavez] was allowed to review a affidavit before being given the final affidavit to sign?
Answer (Abel Reyna): They had written an affidavit.... And so, he had that draft or he was right there and I just remember him making the comment or saying something to the effect of, looks good to me or it's good or something. And that's when I backed up and said, that's not going to work. We -- you need to make sure that you can swear to everything when this affidavit is complete.
Question: And do you ever recall Mr. Reyna saying words to the effect, now, Mr. Chavez, you need to make sure that everything in here is true and I need you to call people and make sure it's true before you sign your name because you're signing your name? Did any conversation like that take place?
Answer (Manuel Chavez): I never spoke to Mr. Reyna that night.
Read the whole order dimissing the Court of Inquiry below.