McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna filed a motion Monday with his former law partner, Judge Matt Johnson, to continue the pending trial of Scimitars Motorcycle Club member Matthew Clendennen. The trial had been scheduled to open February 29.
Johnson will announce the continuance after a pro forma status conference around Valentine’s Day.
Reyna told Johnson he needs more time to analyze all the evidence in the massive case and discover it to defense lawyers. He wrote, “Proceeding forth to trial in the midst of investigation, while known evidence is in the process of being analyzed, may violate the defendant’s Due Process rights and cause the District Attorney to violate both his duty to do justice by performing a comprehensive investigation as well as his duty to disclose exculpatory evidence which the State has requested analysis of but not obtained the results.”
Reyna’s argument suggests one of Zeno’s paradoxes. The ancient philosopher Zeno of Elea was famous for using logic to prove the absurd. For example, the fastest runner Zeno argued, could never beat a tortoise in a footrace if only the reptile was given a head start. Because before the runner could catch up to the slow animal, he would have to run halfway to the tortoise. And before he could get there he would have to run halfway to the halfway point. And so on in a ridiculous, infinite regression.
Reyna argues that once he accused Clendennen of being part of an organized criminal conspiracy to commit murder and assault, there was no way for Clendennen or his lawyer, Clint Broden, to remove the cloud over Clendennen’s head without examining all the possible evidence against all the alleged conspirators in the case.
Reyna explains, “This duty extends to items which were collected and have been sent to forensic laboratories or investigative agencies for further analysis but have not returned to the immediate possession of the State to permit copying and inspection.”
Halfway To Nowhere
The evidence Reyna, and therefore none of the defense attorneys, and therefore neither Clendennen or Broden does not yet have, includes:
“Firearm ballistics (bullet/fragment comparisons) by Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Walnut Creek, California” which will not be ready until at least this March.
“Firearm DNA analysis” and “non-firearms DNA” which will probably not be ready until June.
Cellular phone data which is being done by the Waco Police Department Forensic Analysis and they can’t even guess when they will be done.
“Social media analysis (in excess of 100,000 pages of communications via social media made by defendants and suspects related to this matter) ongoing analysis by multiple law enforcement agencies,” and that will also take an “unknown amount of time to complete.”
Then before Clendennen’s good name can be cleared and he can be made whole, Reyna must complete his “ongoing Grand Jury investigation” which will include “multiple witnesses giving Grand Jury testimony” and that will also take an “undetermined amount of time based on number of witness and prior non-compliance with Grand Jury subpoenas which may necessitate the issuance of Writs of Attachment to compel witnesses to appear before the Grand Jury.”
Reyna explains to Johnson that he is stalling not because he is covering up the deep dark secrets of the Twin Peaks Massacre but because, “It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done.”