Judge denies speedy trial motion in Clendennen Twin Peaks case

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A judge on Friday rejected a motion from former biker Matthew Clendennen to dismiss the charges against him on a claim his right to a speedy trial has been violated.

Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court considered a variety of motions Friday from Clendennen’s attorney, Clint Broden, including a motion to disqualify the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office because it has a tape recording of Clendennen and Broden speaking by phone while Clendennen was still in the county jail.

Broden alleges the DA’s office should be disqualified from the case or the indictment should be dismissed because Clendennen’s right to attorney-client privilege was violated by the jail recording.

Johnson took the motion under advisement, saying he wants to listen to at least a portion of the tape to determine the extent of the damage, if any.

Broden said the existence of the tape was revealed by prosecutors, along with three terabytes worth of other evidence the DA’s office provided to Twin Peaks defendants.

Prosecutor Michael Jarrett said his office has not listened to the tape. He said once he learned the tape exists, he instructed prosecutors and staff members in his office not to listen to it or those involving other Twin Peaks defendants. Jarrett said there were 8,557 phone calls recorded from Twin Peaks defendants in the weeks and months following the May 17, 2015, shootout that left nine dead and more than a dozen injured.

The judge instructed that the tape recordings from the jail be placed under a protective order from the court that prohibits prosecutors and law enforcement officers from listening to the conversations.

All outgoing calls from jail inmates are recorded, but attorneys can make arrangements to have private phone calls with their clients that are not recorded, a jail official said.

In arguing the speedy trial motion, prosecutor Brody Burks told Johnson that much of the delay in the Clendennen case was caused by Broden, who challenged two of Johnson’s earlier rulings with appeals to Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals. The progress of the case essentially was placed on hold while the intermediate appellate court was deciding those issues, Burks said.

In other issues, Johnson ordered the state to pare down its potential witness list after Broden complained that prosecutors gave him a list with 600 witnesses, plus 60 potential expert witnesses and 150 Twin Peaks co-defendants, from the state.

“That doesn’t really help me very much,” Broden said. “I doubt the state is going to call 600 witnesses and I would really like to have a reasonable number to work with.”

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