Updates on the Waco Twin Peaks Shooting
Yesterday, Judge Jeff Walker recused Judge Matt Johnson from one of the Waco Twin Peaks cases.
Defendant William Aiken, a member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, through his attorney, Robert Callahan, had his motion/request granted since there exists the possibility that McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna would testify in the case. Reyna and Judge Johnson were former law partners.
Judge Johnson did recuse himself in another Twin Peaks case that involved Matthew Clendennen, a former member of the Scimitars M.C.
Reyna also recused his office from prosecuting Clendennen’s case. However, Reyna’s office wasn’t so quick to remove themselves from Aiken’s case, arguing that Reyna is not likely to testify in this case because his testimony is irrelevant. To be clear, that argument which was a losing argument- Reyna stands to testify in every hearing, whether a judge allows it or not, that’s a separate issue. But, to err on the side of caution, Johnson should remove himself from every case involving the bikers of Twin Peaks, but controlling your ego is not taught in law school.
In a prior blog, I wrote about this issue and how in court, I witnessed a Judge recusing herself from a shoplifting case where Walmart was the Plaintiff. The Judge issued a short recess in order to be able to confirm with her stock broker on whether or not she owned stock in Walmart.
Now, that is an exaggerated reaction on behalf of the Judge to avoid a conflict of interest, and neither the State Attorney nor the defense attorney wanted the Judge to recuse herself or did they feel it was necessary in order for the Judge to remain impartial, but it shows the lengths to which Judges attempt to avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety. In my opinion, a Judge should not sit in on a trial of any former law partner. Accepting a plea is fine as attorneys have relationships with judges all the time, even relationships that extend outside of the court house, but that is leaps and bounds from being former law partners.
Aiken’s trial date remains unscheduled, but there is a hearing scheduled for later this month regarding evidence being withheld by the Reyna’s office. I wonder where I have heard that before…