Lawyers for both sides in the first Twin Peaks Biker Brawl trial began winnowing the jurors they want from the jurors they don’t this morning.
Christopher Jacob Carrizal, a Bandido from Dallas goes on trial here this week. The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett, and defense attorney Casie Gotro might actually get around to their opening arguments by tomorrow afternoon.
Carrizal, who local officials have said for months they want to “do first,” is accused of multiple counts of murder and assault. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted. Gotro will probably argue that Carrizal is factually innocent because he didn’t shoot, stab or strike anyone. Jarrett will probably argue that a fight between Cossacks and Bandidos and their alleged supporters was prearranged, and that Carrizal, as a Bandidos chapter officer, helped to prearrange it. And he was there, so he must be found guilty under Texas’ draconian law of parties. It is all perfectly legal.
But it is a miserable situation, not just for Carrizal but for his whole family. His father, mother and his siblings were in court with him today. What Jake Carrizal did, exactly, on May 17, 2015 was hold and shelter his father after his Dad was shot by police. Among Jake Carrizal’s official charges is that he is guilty, under Texas law, of assaulting his father. His father is charged with the same crime. McLennan County may not get around to the elder Carrizal’s trial before he dies. But these accusations will haunt the Carrizal family for generations. The last two and a half years and the next few weeks will all become a story Jake’s great-great grandson will tell his great-great grandchildren. The punishment will continue for centuries. It is one of the ways the new and improved America beats its chest.
Are You Sentient
Carrizal will be found innocent or guilty depending on what the dozen jurors who will hear the opposing cases thinks “justice” means.
Virtually the entire jury pool was in court by ten to fill out a five-page, 64-question form that up until now has been treated like it was the secret to the atomic bomb. Considering the secrecy that surrounded it, the actual interrogatory was a letdown. You or anyone you know could have written it. You might have written it better.
“18. Do you know any lawyers, prosecutors, or law enforcement agents on a personal, professional or casual basis?”
“22. Have you ever personally witnessed any violence (other than on TV? 22 (a) Have you ever been in fear for your own physical safety or that of someone else? 22(b) Have you ever had to defend yourself or someone else for whom you were in fear?”
“28. Have you heard about an incident at Twin Peaks that happened on May 17, 2015. If yes, please explain.”
And on the sometimes nonsensical questions went. It might be difficult to find a jury in Nova Scotia whose members have never “heard about an incident at Twin Peaks that happened on May 17, 2015.” But hundreds of good citizens took the morning off work to explain how they came to know about the Twin Peaks Biker Brawl. Maybe the questions like that were just intended to weed out the compulsive liars.
There was no drama in this morning’s proceeding. It was, as Tommy Witherspoon, one of the five reporters present, murmured, like “watching paint dry.” But it might have been the most important day of the trial.
Most of this morning’s horde will be eliminated “for cause.”
Jury prospects who agree that, “if a person is arrested, indicted or charged with a crime, they are probably guilty,” probably just got out of jury duty. So will the ones who think, “A police officer is more likely to tell the truth than any other witness.”
But there may actually have been jurors scattered in this morning’s crowd who are open to persuasion by either side. Justice in Waco, Texas may turn out to be more than something cynics smirk. Jake Carrizal might yet get a fair trial. Somewhere in the big herd were the citizens who will decide if he should spend the rest of his life free or confined to a cage.
None of them seemed particularly concerned about the weight of the burden they were about to bear.