Waco: Complaint Filed Against Official Who Set $1M Bonds for Bikers

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More legal challenges are stacking up against Waco authorities in the wake of the May 17th shooting incident outside a Twin Peaks restaurant. After last week’s recusal motion, another attorney has filed a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Waco Justice of the Peace Walter H. “Pete” Peterson.

The complaint is based on comments made by Peterson and reported by the Waco Tribune:

I think it is important to send a message. We had nine people killed in our community. These people just came in, and most of them were from out of town. Very few of them were from in town.

That is not how the law is supposed to work, as Breitbart Texas reported last week in an interview with attorney Kent A. Schaffer. “Bond is supposed to guarantee the defendant’s appearance in court, but this judge set bonds based upon his desire to teach the defendants a lesson, and not out of some concern that they will not appear in court,” Schaffer charged.

The attorney filing the current complaint is Dallas lawyer Clint Broden, who Breitbart Texas reported has also filed a civil lawsuit against officials in the city of Waco, claiming violations of 4th and 14th Amendment rights. Broden issued a statement in a press release about his complaint against Peterson:

The complaint alleges that Peterson, a former DPS trooper with little or no formal legal training, violated various cannons of judicial ethics when he set $1,000,000 bonds for 170 or more individuals without any individual consideration for the facts of the individual cases. The complaint goes on to state that Peterson set these bonds in mass, group hearings without considering the rules for fixing bonds under Tex. Code Criminal Procedure Art. 17.15. Moreover, the complaint points out that it is completely inappropriate under Texas law to set bonds “to send a message.” Finally, the complaint points out that Peterson inappropriately refused to set the probable cause hearing in these cases until August 6, 2015- almost three months after the arrests- only after consulting with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.

It is our belief that law enforcement chose Peterson to set the bonds in this case because of his lack of legal training and his willingness to ignore the requirements that each case be given individual consideration,” said Broden.

Broden also said that his client in the civil lawsuit, Matthew Alan Clendennen, was released from custody after agreeing to post a $100,000 bond.

Attorney Broden said:

I believe this was a calculated effort to keep an innocent individual in jail until he was willing to reach out for whatever carrot was offered,” said Broden. “A $100,000 is still a ridiculous bond amount for Mr. Clendennen who is a 2011 Baylor graduate and a life long resident of the Waco area, but, unfortunately, he had no choice but to accept, in order to get back to his wife and children.

An estimated 150 bikers are still being held on $1,000,000 bonds at this time.


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