Senior judge appointed to hear Twin Peaks biker case

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A senior judge who presided over a hearing two years ago in which nine Twin Peaks defendants sought to remove McLennan County’s two primary felony court judges, was appointed Tuesday to preside over the case of former biker Matthew Clendennen.

A day after 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson agreed to step down from hearing Clendennen’s case, regional administrative Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield appointed Senior Judge Doug Shaver, of Houston, to hear Clendennen’s case.

A panel of 600 potential jurors has been summoned to report to court Oct. 27 in Clendennen’s case. The trial is set to start Nov. 6.

Johnson’s decision to recuse himself came after Dallas attorney Clint Broden, who represents Clendennen, a former Scimitars motorcycle club member, filed a motion Monday seeking to recuse Johnson from further involvement in Clendennen’s case.

Johnson was formerly law partners with McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna. Broden’s motion states that, according to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, “a judge must recuse in any proceeding in which … the judge or a lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law has been a material witness concerning the proceeding.”

Reyna testified at a hearing last year in which Broden was seeking to disqualify Reyna from prosecuting Clendennen’s case.

Shaver, who is retired, has presided over dozens of capital murder and murder trials, including the infamous “sleeping lawyer” case in 1992 in which 72-year-old defense lawyer John E. Benn, literally slept through much of George McFarland’s capital murder trial.

McFarland, convicted of robbing and killing a grocery store owner in Harris County, remains on death row.

Johnson’s recusal comes a month after retired judges recused 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother from hearing the cases of Twin Peaks bikers Thomas Paul Landers, George Bergman, Rolando Reyes and Christopher Jacob Carrizal.

Johnson is scheduled to preside over Carrizal’s trial, with jury selection set to start Oct. 10. Carrizal is Dallas chapter president of the Bandidos group and is the first of the 154 bikers indicted in the Twin Peaks case set for trial.

Stubblefield appointed Shaver to preside over a June 4, 2015, hearing in Waco in which Austin attorney Adam Reposa, who at the time was representing nine bikers associated with the Bandidos, tried to recuse Johnson and Strother in those cases.

Shaver denied the motion.

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