“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Since May 17, a lot has happened, except of course, for those arrested in the Waco Massacre. The most important piece of evidence which could clear or convict every single biker and put to rest all the rumors and speculation, is still a secret. At this point, we are more likely to get the secret formula to Coca-Cola then the surveillance videos from Twin Peaks.
I know plenty of law enforcement officers and they have told me the stories when they say “we have video” to a suspect and what their reaction is like. But, I cannot think of any time neither do my LEO friends when so many “criminals” are begging to have the video surveillance of Twin Peaks released.
Police in Ferguson recently released surveillance video of an officer involved shooting. Why? To prove their innocence! Police in Arlington, Texas, just under 100 miles north of Waco, released audio of a fatal shooting. Why? To stop the rumors! Just do a Google search on how many times police have released a video, even while a criminal investigation remains pending. The Waco Police Dept. continues to hid behind the veil of a “pending investigation.”
One biker, Bill Jason McRee, has even objected to the prosecutors postponing an examining trial. Think about that for a second. Yes, there are strategic reasons at times to push a case forward but in a case such as this with prosecutors, police, and investigators working on this case around the clock, this isn’t one of those scenarios. Is that biker in a rush to go to jail? Of course not!
Are the motorcycle clubs crazy to ask for the videos to be released? Of course not! They know what we have all known from day one! Then why not release the videos? Why not release records for which the public normally has access to? The answers to these questions are simple: once our legal system became litigious instead of searching for the truth, it became a game about winning at all costs, even at the cost of those innocent.
From the beginning, I blogged how this would play out, and unfortunately, I am right for now. Money is not the root of all evil but when money is the reason these bikers cannot go forward with what is left of their lives, then money is the root of evil.
The Prosecutors are hiding behind the grand jury; the most lopsided legal process in existence. Of course, no surprise they are using the grand jury to hand out indictments that way prosecutors can say what they always say: “the grand jury spoke and handed the indictment.” Another form of pleading ignorance and plausible deniability.
Grand juries have been called rubber stamps for the prosecutors according to the Department of Justice’s own study (“Grand juries are notorious for being ‘rubberstamps’ for the prosecutor for virtually all routine criminal matters.” (Plea Bargaining: Critical Issues and Common Practices, by William F. McDonald, (U.S. DOJ, National Institute of Justice, 1985).)
Judge Sol Wachtler, an advocate of eliminating the grand jury process, coined the phrase those in the law profession have heard so many times; that a prosecutor could get an “indictment on a ham sandwich.” Why? Because the process is completely tilted in favor of the prosecutor.
The Prosecutor presents evidence to the grand jury. There is no defense counsel, no judge, the rules of evidence don’t apply, and the proceeding is done in secret.
From 2009-2010, statistics from the Bureau of Justice reveals than in more than 162,500 cases prosecuted by U.S. attorneys (federal), grand juries voted not to return an indictment in only 11 cases or in 0.0068 percent of the time. A grand jury is comparable to having an argument by yourself, meaning, you will win that argument every time.
As time goes by, reduced plea offers will be made. Over 90% of cases are usually plead out. Once that happens, kiss goodbye a civil rights violation lawsuit. I cannot blame the bikers for wanting to put this behind them especially since trials aren’t cheap. The bikers may not be able to afford a trial anymore than the city of Waco can afford civil rights violation lawsuits that would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. If the bikers go to trial and win, the prosecutors will say they didn’t file the charges (information), it was the grand jury (indictment) that said we have enough evidence to proceed with convictions. This is no longer the practice of law, but the game of law.
Unfortunately, those tied into this tragedy have been let down by government at the local, state, and federal level. The entire system has been a failure beginning with absurd $1 million bonds issued by a justice of the peace who is NOT a judge, WITH fill in the blank arrest warrants, Waco PD making up the exaggerated facts as they go along, gag orders, not releasing the surveillance videos, blocking access to public records including autopsy reports, the prosecutor and judge are former law partners, and the grand jury foreman is a Waco Police Detective.
If this goes to trial, I doubt it will be televised. I’m just waiting for my Cousin Vinny to be at the hearing while the judge asks “what is a yute?”
Lady Justice isn’t blind in Waco, she is not even there! She’s most likely being held on a $1 million bond on trumped up charges.
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