Waco: Former Twin Peaks defense lawyer holds class

Attorney Casie Gotro with her former client, Jake Carrizal. (Photo by John Carroll/file)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Casie Gotro, of Houston, the first defense lawyer to take one of the Twin Peaks cases to trial, was in Waco Friday speaking to a large gathering of lawyers, but not in the courtroom.

Gotro was part of a speakers’ panel organized by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association that was in town providing in depth continuing legal education to attorneys who are required to complete certain CLE each year to keep their law licenses.

Prosecutors have the same responsibility and a separate organization that organizes their CLE and both groups can complete CLE provided by the Texas Bar Association.

Gotro was the last speaker of the morning and she spent her time talking about her case with Dallas Bandidos President Christopher Jacob Carrizal which went to trial last year and after five weeks ended in a mistrial.

The trial was held in 54th District Court after Judge Ralph Strother, in 19th District Court, was disqualified from presiding in the matter.

Gotro had high praise for 54th District Judge Matt Johnson but not so much for Strother.

During her talk Gotro urged the other defense lawyers in the room to fight for every client the same way: aggressively.

Gotro, during her exchanges with Strother and before the case was transferred, was fiery, outspoken and demanding, which she explained in the class.

She said unlike attorneys in Waco who appear before these judges every day, she does not, and that allowed her, she said, a bit of leeway.

“Attorneys who practice before these judges every day can’t afford to be too abrasive because we have other clients in other cases that also will be dealt with by those judges,” one Waco lawyer who attended the Friday conference said.

Gotro urged any attorney in the room who has a Twin Peaks client to speak with her or use the data she had gathered in the case.

On Thursday Gotro was allowed to withdraw from Carrizal’s case, at his request, but told Johnson she would see to the transfer of data from her to Carrizal’s new attorney, who has not yet been named.

“Her point of view was enlightening and interesting,” another lawyer who attended said.

“But she’s right … a lawyer who works in these courtrooms every day can’t afford to act the way she did.”