An attorney for two men arrested in the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout between rival bikers says his clients are being held illegally and is seeking to replace all McLennan County judges connected to the case.
Austin attorney Adam Reposa alleges in motions filed Tuesday that the charging documents filed against his clients, and the 168 others jailed in the chaotic melee, are legally insufficient.
He also claims that the $1 million bonds are unreasonably oppressive and that the judge who set them and the judges who, so far, have not reduced them have shown bias and should be recused.
Reposa represents Jimmy Pond and Thomas Paul Landers. He said Pond, a mechanic from Hays County, is the sole supporter of his family, which includes a disabled wife and autistic son.
Besides the recusal motion, Reposa filed an application for writ of habeas corpus, alleging a client is being held illegally and without proper cause, and a motion for emergency release so Pond can go home and take care of his family.
After the shootout, in which nine were killed and 18 wounded, Reposa said officials “commandeered” the Waco Convention Center as a makeshift holding area while they tried to sort out the magnitude of the event.
But officials failed to call in judges, whom he said could have magistrated the bikers, gotten a sense of how many merely were in the wrong place at the wrong time and “helped provide adequate due process,” Reposa charges.
State District Judges Matt Johnson and Ralph Strother have scheduled bond reduction hearings in about 10 cases for June 5 and June 12.
Peterson has scheduled examining trials in two of the cases for Aug. 10.
But Reposa said that is not quick enough, adding that each day that passes infringes on his clients’ civil rights and helps promote what he calls the “Gestapo-esque militarization of law enforcement.”
He seeks to recuse Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson because he set $1 million bonds on each defendant, saying he was doing so to “send a message” because of the “atrocity of the incident and the impact on the community.”
He asks that Johnson and Strother be recused because they approved the high bonds and mandated that only they would entertain motions to reduce bond, Reposa’s motion says.
Strother and Johnson declined comment on the recusal motions Tuesday evening.
Those motions will be forwarded to Regional Administrative Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield, of Georgetown, who can reject the motions or appoint a judge to hear the recusal motions.
In seeking to dismiss the charges against his clients, Reposa alleges the identical arrest warrant affidavits filed in all 170 cases fail to allege the elements of an engaging in organized criminal activity case, paints all defendants with an overly broad brush and rely on nothing more than “guilt by association.”