Cody Ledbetter’s lawyer, Paul Looney of Houston, will reportedly file a “Motion To Quash And Exception To Substance Of Indictment” on his client’s behalf.
Ledbetter, a member of the Cossack’s Motorcycle Club, was wounded during a very bloody brawl at a Texas Coalition of Clubs and Independents meeting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas last May 17. Ledbetter’s father, Raymond Boyette, was killed during the brawl. Police reports state that Ledbetter was also shot during the tragic encounter. Ledbetter was arrested at Hillcrest hospital in Waco. Looney, and Dane Schiller of the Houston Chronicle have insisted that Ledbetter wasn’t wounded but suffered “an injury” before he attended the event at the Twin Peaks.
The disparity in explanations of how Ledbetter’s arm wound up in a sling epitomizes the babble that has made the case difficult to report.
Ledbetter was indicted for participating in a conspiracy that led to ten deaths on November 10 and he was arraigned on Monday.
Looney’s latest motion was reported by the Chronicle today. It does not yet appear to have been actually filed.
The motion argues in part:
“Defendant, Cody Ledbetter, alleges that it does not appear from the indictment that an offense against the law was committed by Cody Ledbetter as charged in the indictment, nor is Cody Ledbetter placed on sufficient notice of what he is to defend against.
“The prosecution theory in this case is that Cody Ledbetter’ s mere presence on May 17, 2015 was sufficient standing alone to constitute the requisite culpable mental state to support him being charged with the offenses stemming from alleged criminal conduct during the criminal episode. The grand jury indictment alleges no over act committed by Cody Ledbetter. However Cody Ledbetter is charged with having engaged in organized criminal activity as a member of a criminal street gang.
“Cody Ledbetter is affiliated with the ‘Cossacks Motorcycle Club.’ In affiliating with the Cossacks Cody Ledbetter was not on notice from any source that the Cossacks motorcycle club was considered by law enforcement as a ‘criminal street gang.’”
“Cody Ledbetter was a victim. He was injured, and he witnessed hi s step-father being murdered. He did nothing other than see hi s step-father murdered in front of him and then run for cover.”
Blame The Bandidos
“On the other hand,” Looney continues, “the ‘Bandidos’ are clearly a criminal street gang. ‘Bandidos’ have been recognized in the jurisprudence of this country as a combination of three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol and an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal acts The effort exhibited in Cody Ledbetter’s indictment to compare membership in the Cossacks as indistinguishable from membership in the Bandidos, as both are ‘criminal street gangs,’ is simply not supported in the law of this State or any other state or of the United States.”
“The State of Texas seeks by indictment to prove mere presence at the scene of a crime can be illegal if the person present is a member of a criminal street gang. The term criminal street gang has been defined. The prosecution is not free to determine which groups are and are not criminal street gangs with no reference to such determinations being subject to the law of the State of Texas That is specifically what has occurred and the simple allegation of membership in a ‘criminal street gang,’ given the stare decisis of the State of Texas, fails to state a crime in clear and intelligible language and fails to place Cody Ledbetter on sufficient notice of what he must defend against.”
Looney’s argument is that Ledbetter must be innocent and the Cossacks must be innocent because there is no legal precedent for calling the Cossacks a “criminal street gang” but many biker experts have called the Bandidos a “criminal street gang.”.
Some lawyers might find that argument to be a little thin.
Some Bandidos, and other members of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, might be reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s famous words just before he signed the Declaration of Independence: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”