Looney In A Hurry

November 17, 2015

All Posts, News

Looney In A Hurry

Paul Looney, the Houston lawyer who is representing a Cossacks Motorcycle Club member named Cody Ledbetter against a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity, dared 19th State District Court Judge Ralph Strother to knock the chip off his shoulder yesterday.

Simultaneously, Dane Schiller of the Houston Chronicle published an 830 word feature about the motion that claimed Looney was “making an offer that he says saves time and money and heads off the ‘quagmire’ of trying to prosecute at least 106 people charged in the case.” Then Looney’s office sent out a press release.

Looney’s thousand word motion argues that the current and future cases created out of air, out of thin air, and blood and heartbreak and ruin and mendacity immediately after the Twin Peaks Massacre last May 17, present “a potential quagmire for the defense bar, the prosecution, the bench, and the taxpayers of McLennan County. At least one hundred and six cases have been indicted on the identical novel legal theory: that the defendants, by arriving at Twin Peaks for a bike-club informational meeting wearing motorcycle jackets bearing the insignia of either the Cossacks or Bandidos Motorcycle Clubs, were making a ‘show of force’ for a ‘criminal street gang,’ and therefore were guilty of participating in organized criminal activity. The defendant’s indictment and the examining trials of his co-defendant William English both reflect this theory (as do the other one hundred five indictments released along with the Defendant’s, all of which are virtually identical other than the name and cause numbers involved.)  It is a theory that does not appear to have ever before been presented to a Texas court.”

Maybe Not First Rodeo

Maybe it hasn’t been presented in a Texas court before, but it is certainly well established in biker cases in the federal courts. A sampling of those cases from the last few years might begin with US v. Szpyt et al.; US v. Nagi et al.; US v. Cavazos et al.; US v. Maestas et al.; US v. Ablett; US v. Mongols Nation; US v. Kotschuck et al.; US v. Barbeito et al.; US v Bowser et al.; and US v. Bifield et al. There are many more. They are all conspiracy cases including the one man conspiracy of Christopher “Stoney” Ablett. Looney is defending a conspiracy case. He is a bright man so he probably already understands that this is a “tail wagging a dog” case. He already seems to understand that the point of this prosecution is to use judicial prosecution as a form of extrajudicial punishment, And yesterday’s motion clearly signals that Looney thinks it would be nice if Waco stopped being so mean.

When Ledbetter does get his week, or day or 15 minutes, in court many biker experts will testify that his client and all the other lawyers’ clients were members, as these prosecutors will put it, of the Bandidos/Cossacks/Rebel Riders/Scimitars/insert other club name here “criminal gang” that “commits, attempts and threatens to commit acts of violence including murder to protect and expand the gang’s criminal operation, promote a climate of fear, and maintain control and authority of the (insert club name here) over the territory claimed by the (insert club name here) and expanding that territory and protecting and expanding the power of the (insert club name here) through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assault and murder; promoting and enhancing the authority of the (insert club name here) members and associates.”

Mens Rea

At least publically, Looney seems to assume that his client must be found innocent because Ledbetter didn’t actually commit a crime and because he had an innocent mind. The fairy tale lawyers learn in their graduate schools is summed up by the Latin lie Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea: Which can be roughly translated as, “If you’re just playing at being an outlaw it don’t count.” One can only hope that privately Looney and all the other defenders have been out in the real world long enough to get it that that is not how the justice casino works.

In his “Request For Earliest Possible Trial Setting” Looney argues, “Someone must go first; and the sooner that occurs, the better for all involved. This Defendant is prepared to proceed to a jury trial without delay. No motions, beyond routine motions-in-limine, need to drafted or litigated. This Defendant is satisfied to go to a McLennan County jury and does not believe it necessary to seek a change in venue. The primary issues in this case are legal ones; there are few disputed facts. In short, the Defendant seeks to go to trial as quickly as possible, as a sort of ‘test case,’ allowing his case to proceed before this Court, and before the appellate courts if necessary, in order to determine the validity, or lack thereof, of the State’s theory. The Defendant believes that most, if not all, relevant discovery has been provided and any outstanding discovery that the State must turn over can be provided quickly, allowing for trial at the earliest possible setting.”

The least anyone of good conscience can do is wish Looney and Ledbetter good luck with that.


30 Responses to “Looney In A Hurry”

  1. ak rack Says:

    Looney explains why he’s pursuing the “speedy trial” request.


    Best one liner in the video: Looney calls Waco “the most un-American city on our soil”

  2. Mark Matis Says:

    I wonder how fast this will disappear if our ISIS friends create any entertainment on Black Friday? I wonder if Reyna and LE are expecting any such thing…

  3. Sohn Says:

    I think you’re missing the Laughlin case which is probably the most similar. Where 42 people were indicted for a single ruckus but only a handful of people were actually involved physically in the affray . The advantage to having actual video evidence. In that case, the defense presented to the judge to take the actors with the most culpability and try them first and let the dominos fall where they may. The prosecutors strategy was to try the indicted in groups of 6 with 1 person in each trial that had a physical interaction with someone. The judge rightfully agreed that it would be in the people and governments best interest to proceed with the defenses request.
    The prosecutors case fell apart before they even called their last witness and almost everyone walked. Strangely enough, Nevada took a much more reasonable approach in the same case. I imagine Texas law is more similar to Nevada then any other western state-especially California.
    The trial lawyer is in line with logical thinking. He only needs 1 or 2 jurors with common sense in a state where i think he can get them. Waco is going to suffer a huge financial burden for this and needs to plan exit strategies for it. To many municipalities fall into the LEO line of thought and everyone suffers. It’s why our jails are overcrowded with non violent offenders of victimless crimes.. Prosecutors, courts and LEOs need to divorce themselves of each other and live up to their individual oaths instead of being cogs in the prison industry machine.
    Plus, he is now on record demanding his right to a fair and speedy trial.

  4. Philo Says:

    ‘Mens Rae’… Our system of, “justice” shit on that concept a loooong, long time ago….

    Not to get way off subject, but did we ever sort out whom the responsible party(s) were for the site hack?


  5. rojas Says:

    Speaking of being in a hurry..
    Mark Bennett has some critique of the indictments.

    2015.93: Spaghetti Prosecution in Waco

  6. ak rack Says:

    OK, this is probably a dumb question (my long suit) but . . . is it too much to hope that conspiring to deprive someone of their civil rights under the color of law is a crime as well as a tort?

  7. cboldt Says:

    @old & stoned, thank you for that comment, and I stand corrected. DA are protected in presentment to grand jury and as prosecutors, but are not protected for investigation or advising of police.
    Moreover, it would be “incongruous” to afford prosecutors absolute immunity “from liability for giving advice to the police, but to allow police officers only qualified immunity for following the advice.”
    That taken from Section 1983 Litigation – Federal Judicial Center (1998)

  8. rollinnorth Says:

    Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how this Federal civil rights claim for damages for wrongful conviction, in D.C., turns out.

    “In U.S. court, man exonerated after 27 years alleges D.C. police framed him

    A man who served 27 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit accused D.C. police of framing him, in the first federal civil rights claim for damages involving a wrongful conviction in the District.

    All sides agree that Donald E. Gates, 64, is ‘stone-cold innocent,’ as his attorneys put it, of the June 1981 murder of Catherine T. Schilling, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student assaulted and killed in Rock Creek Park after leaving the Watergate office building where she worked as a paralegal. But they disagree about whether police actions violated Gates’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

    During a two-week trial, Gates’s allegation that two D.C. police homicide detectives and a lieutenant fabricated and withheld evidence has presented an emotional, legal and financial tangle to jurors, who began deliberations Tuesday.”



  9. old & stoned Says:

    cboldt – true da’s usually ‘advise’ or ‘steer’ badges prior to indictment, uaually as a “i need this, you need to show this,,”, strictly advisory. Reyna being “involved” in the ‘hands on’ collection of evidence at the crime scene taints him and his evidence.

    Rebel,, get well soon,, gonna be a busy year for ya,,,

  10. rollinnorth Says:

    Thanks, Rebel, for keeping us updated. Hope you are feeling better.

    “One of the greatest safeguards against overcriminalization—the misuse and overuse of criminal laws and penalties to address societal problems—is ensuring that there is an adequate mens rea requirement in criminal laws. Sentencing reform addresses how long people should serve once convicted, but mens rea reform addresses those who never should have been convicted in the first place: morally blameless people who unwittingly commit acts that turn out to be crimes and are prosecuted for those offenses rather than having the harms they caused addressed through the civil justice system.”



  11. dogbreath Says:

    Within hours of the Twin Peaks incident, information was provided to the
    media that was inaccurate, exaggerated, and highly misleading. Defendant Stroman allowed WPD representatives to set forth a narrative that was inaccurate in many respects. The “shootout between outlaw motorcycle gangs” theme that continues to be
    trumpeted is patently false. Perpetuating the narrative has caused
    irreparable harm to the reputations of the many individuals, including Plaintiff, who had nothing to do with the fatalities and injuries.

    Stroman will take all the heat for Swanton’s narrative, Patty was just following orders like a good lil nazi.

    There are possibly 195 or more indictments (106 + 9 sealed + 80 still under consideration). Will there be an equal number, or more, civil cases? It’s a good time to be in the lawyering game in Waco about now.

  12. ak rack Says:

    Too bad “Popgun Patty” Swanton not named yet . . .

  13. cboldt Says:

    Five Civil Rights suits filed. Clendennen, Bergman, Bucy, Salinas, and Adame.
    All filed by Broden in Federal District Court in Western District of Texas, Austin; all v. Stroman, Chavez, Reyna and John Does. It argues that Reyna is not entitled to absolute immunity, as the suit is for actions taken during investigation, prior to a determination of probable cause. I’m not sure that will fly because DA’s routinely are involved prior to arrest, and routinely advise police whether or not probable cause exists. In other words, investigation and PC analysis is part of the prosecutorial function.

  14. Rojas Says:

    And then there were Five

    Clendennen v. Stroman, Chavez and Ryena

    Bergman v. Stroman, Chavez and Ryena

    Bucy v. Stroman, Chavez and Ryena

    Salinas v. Stroman, Chavez and Ryena

    Adame v. Stroman, Chavez and Ryena

    Of note:
    Defendant Reyna is not entitled to immunity
    Defendant Reyna investigated the scene within hours of the incident, took
    photographs of the scene, reviewed information as it became known, and in all respects inserted himself in the role of an investigator/detective. Defendant Reyna was not acting as an
    advocate in assisting with the mere preparation of the affidavit for an arrest warrant, but rather involved himself in the investigative phase of the case prior to a determination of probable cause
    , and thus, is not entitled to absolute immunity.


  15. ChasRA Says:

    Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

    The act of the accused does not make one guilty unless the mind be guilty.

  16. IronRider Says:


    Thanks for sharing the link to the docs.

  17. IronRider Says:

    Looney is being proactive and pushing the issue with the court, The prosecution will delay and delay these cases because it has to, it’s a mess. The fact that everyone on the LE side has wanted to keep everything on the down low and making excuses to not have to turn over disclosure and not give out any details about their so called investigation even to the media tells you just how flimsy and much of a sham this whole fiasco is.

    Looney is smart he is forcing the issue and getting it out to not only LE, but the public in how trumped up these charges are and how the taxpayer is going to be in for a long drawn out process that is going to costs these very taxpayers millions in court costs and legal fees and that they will be subject to paying the costs from wrongful death lawsuits and those who have had their rights violated.

    LE side has been dragging their feet and using the courts to gag anyone they could from releasing information about this case, even to their friendly media sources, they have been stoning them from getting information about these cases, When the LE friendly media starts questioning the LE side of the story , you know they know something is seriously wrong.

    Now that Looney is taking it to the court it is going to force the court to have to answer his motion, thus putting the prosecutor on the record and finally start having to give up the information they have been trying to hide from everyone.

    I see some officials on the LE side starting to get some sleepless nights, because now the stonewalling can only go on for so long, if Reyna tries to use the court and his Judge friends in McLennan county to keep this under wraps and delayed further, Looney has avenues of appeal and also can also ask the higher court to move it along or to compel Reyna to turn over discovery and move the case along.

    This is a smart play, LE hand is going to be forced and they are going to be desperate to do as much damage control as they can before their so called investigation and LE’s actions that day in Waco come spilling out.

    Hang on to your seats kids, this is going to get interesting

  18. Gandalf Says:

    Everyone should already have sent in their Speedy trial demands. People with PD should send their Lawyers a Certified Letter asking them to request a speedy trial.110 requests should be sitting on the Courts desk by end of the week. If they don’t answer quick enough…Foul. If PDs don’t send the request. Foul. Certified Complaint to the Judge + Hearing request on Lawyers competence. If he doesn’t respond quick enough. Foul. Ethics Complaint against both of them. Preserving appeal for Incompetent Lawyer is Important. These PD Lawyers can be booted off “The Wheel” ie: “Gravy Train.” Y’all can overrun these guys easy. Ya just gotta work together and repete Mr. Brodens Motions exactly. X110+ defendants so far. Break the Mailmans back… I’m sure He’s in on it too. LOL

  19. rojas Says:

    Would also note that Broden has demanded speedy trials for three clients he represents as well.


  20. Scubba Steve Says:

    Hey Rebel. Glad your back. It was Looney who called out McLennan County private attorney Brittany Lannen in your Oct.16 article “Reyna Versus R.S. Gates”. It was the first and last time I ever saw her name. Do you have any information to flesh this information out? What the hell is her role? I see there were texts between her and Jarret but the story ends there… Makes me wonder what Looney knows that rest of us don’t…

  21. Phuquehed Says:

    Burn Waco, Burn!!

  22. old & stoned Says:

    i would assume that Looney would insist during discovery, on everything even mentioned in the grand jury hearings,, which would include the pole cam & dashcam footage.

    he best have a few extra Aces up his sleeves,,

  23. Gandalf Says:

    Fact is sooner or later someone will go 1st, then 2nd, 3rd ect. By the time they reach 15 defense Lawyers will be 100% on target and the Waco/Fed LE witnesses will be contradicting themselves over and over. Perjury is a real threat to a man who testifies under oath 177 times. Esp when they are lying and being cross examined by the likes of Mr. Broden & Co. These “Good Ol Boys” will never let that happen to their own. Imagine that Sherriff who dropped the evidence on the Don Carlos Vid having to explain himself to 177 Juries??? 1 of those Juries might recommend charges against him… I believe they can do that. Or Perjury Charges. I believe a Jury can find Not Guilty with a recommendation of Perjury Charges against ??? Whoever.

  24. Gandalf Says:

    @oldskewl Imagine what Rebel can do with 2 eyes. @Paladin “I think it courageous that Ledbetter.” Yes it is. I Still think Waco DA has NO INTENTION of disclosing ANY evidence of Police wrongdoing and the ballistics report is going to obviously wacked. I think the DA doesn’t even care if he wins or loses he is playing Civil Defense with a Criminal Offence…. I think sooner or Later EVERY defendant will be acquitted or charges dropped because of tampered and missing evidence… Da will just say, “Oh well no sweat off my ass… Them Dam Outlaw Biker gang members got over on us God fearing Christian good guys again.”

  25. R&R Says:

    Great to see you back, Rebel. Keep the faith.

    I go back less than 3 months to the 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment. There is only one club listed there and we know who they are. If the DPS & other so called intelligence agencies only classify one club as a criminal gang, that makes most of these indictments null. If LE across the state does not classify them as gangs how can McClennan County arbitrarily classify them so? Just askin’.


  26. NCRider Says:

    Looks like the taxpayers of McLennan County would be asking questions, and if I lived in Waco, I would seriously be questioning my family’s safety from the Waco PD.

    Rebel, hope you are feeling better and getting stronger
    each day. Praying for you.

    Oldskewl – My husband was diagnosed a little over a year ago with stage 4 cancer. Your post touched home with me. I know how much you are going through and will remember you in my prayers also.


  27. Paladin Says:

    I think Loony’s tactic of forcing the hand of the prosecution might be a good one. It gives the prosecution less time to wear down the defendants, both psychologically and financially, which lessens the prosecution’s ability to force the defendant’s into the “Let’s Make a Deal” mode.

    I think it courageous that Ledbetter has chosen to go this route and force Waco’s hand. Like Waco, Ledbetter has decided to go all in and call the hand.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  28. oldskewl Says:

    Dear Rebel, you’ve only been back a day and here you’ve already put out two stories. I sincerely wish you all the best and my prayers are with you.

    i hope whatever your aliment, it’s not severe and does not affect your daily routine too much. I have stage 4 cancer and I know what it means to be sick, I surely hope all is OK with you my friend.


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