In 2014, I made a last-minute effort to bring justice to our community in the form of a write-in campaign for district attorney. More than 6,000 people voted for me and my gratitude cannot be overstated.
Once again, I call upon the good people of McLennan County to demonstrate your commitment to justice in our community by voting Barry Johnson for district attorney.
If you’ve followed any news this past year, you are well versed with the numerous accusations leveled against McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna. These have been downplayed by the DA as mere musings of “disgruntled former employees” as well as motorcyclists swept up in the indiscriminate Twin Peaks dragnet of 2015 and their attorneys. However, voters would do well to remember that it was a state assistant attorney general working beside Reyna — not a defense attorney — who was subsequently recorded candidly stating that our DA cannot be trusted and that Mr. Reyna is deluded.
Our community surely understands it’s not just the former first assistant district attorney who went to the FBI to report wrongdoing on Mr. Reyna’s part. The current first assistant district attorney and a current assistant district attorney also went to the FBI to report that Mr. Reyna was in essence swapping dismissals for campaign contributions.
It’s vital, too, for the public to recall that on no less than four occasions now, Mr. Reyna had the opportunity to address accusations of corruption against him, under oath, in a court of law — certainly a challenge one might expect him to pursue given all his campaign talk of accountability. Yet on all four occasions Mr. Reyna recused his office, or completely dismissed the charges against these “dangerous biker gang members,” rather than allow the courageous whistle blowers to bring the truth to light. And who can forget that Mr. Reyna accused the honorable District Judge Ralph Strother of impropriety, even trying to have the judge thrown off these Twin Peaks cases, purely as a stalling tactic to avoid confrontational hearings about his own ethical failings .
There’s more that could be said regarding the district attorney’s mishandling of the Ed Graf murder case; the mass exodus of experienced prosecutors; the overturning of costly capital murder convictions; the decision not to prosecute a Baylor University athlete who allegedly broke his girlfriend’s jaw in two places “accidentally”; and the retaliatory dismissal of seven felony cases after skeptical Waco police alleged compromising leaks in the district attorney’s office.
And there’s the fact Reyna had some 2½ years to prepare for a trial he hand-selected to be tried first among 154 Twin Peaks cases — and then presented a disjointed, disorganized, overly long case that ended in mistrial with only six of 12 jurors at most voting to convict and a near-acquittal on the first count.
Suffice it to say, we need a change.
The district attorney’s race is the most important race on this year’s ballot. As voting comes to a close, please remember that the Republican primary is open to every voter, regardless of party affiliation, and voters are free to vote differently later in November’s general election. I encourage every voter to vote in the Republican primary for Barry Johnson to help make justice a priority in our community.