Waco: Judge who dismissed Twin Peaks inquiry issues formal order

Judge David Peeples. (Bexar County photo)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The judge named for a court of inquiry sought by an attorney for a biker charged in the Twin Peaks shootout on the merits of an accusation of perjury involving police and prosecutors has issued a formal order after dismissing the inquiry without ever holding a hearing.

Judge David Peeples said in an email in December that his decision to dismiss the inquiry was based on his conclusion “that the evidence of perjury is insufficient and does not justify continuing the court of inquiry,” and “serious prudential concerns about procedure.”

In the formal order issued on Monday, Peeples wrote, “The perjury allegation does not justify a Court of Inquiry and the circumstances of the case do not justify bypassing all five of McLennan County’s district judges.”

Dallas lawyer F. Clinton Broden presented the request for a court of inquiry to 203rd District Judge Teresa Hawthorne on Oct. 6, 2017, and she ruled in his favor, and then asked her administrative judge to order the trial.

The administrative judge selected Peeples who served as the presiding judge for the Fourth Administrative Judicial Region for more than two decades before stepping down earlier this year.

Broden said in a statement at the time that he sought the court of inquiry to determine whether McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna or Waco police Det. Manuel Chavez “committed perjury or aggravated perjury at hearing held in the Twin Peaks” cases.

The issue, Broden said in October was whether Reyna had any discussions with Chavez before the detective signed arrest warrant affidavits for the 177 bikers arrested on the day of the shooting.

Reyna, Broden maintained, testified that he did have discussions while Chavez has testified that he never talked with the DA that day.

Reyna rejected the claim.

"The court has assessed the testimony and the law of Texas," Peeples wrote in the order Monday.

"The Court of Inquiry is dismissed because there is no probable cause to believe perjury has occurred, and there is insufficient reason to justify investigating perjury charges against either Chavez or Reyna."

Broden’s client, Matthew Clendennen, of Hewitt, is charged in the May 17, 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs and law enforcement officers at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant that left nine bikers dead and more than 20 injured.