Experts Criticize Holding Bikers In TX Jail Three Weeks On $1 Million Bond


More than three weeks after Waco, Tx., police arrested 177 bikers after a deadly shootout at a local restaurant, no charges have been filed in the killings, nearly half the bikers remain in jail on unusually high bonds, and more than a few legal experts, including former prosecutors, are starting to wonder what is going on in the case, reports the Texas Tribune. The sluggish process of sorting out the guilty from the innocent raises civil rights questions, and potentially exposes the McClennan County to significant costs for arresting and detaining people who had no involvement in alleged crimes, experts said. One biker has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Waco and McLennan County.

Presiding Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield of the region that includes Waco met yesterday with the two judges handling the bikers' cases to discuss ways to move the pre-trial process along. “I think there are ways to speed it up, and that's what I stand ready to do,” he said. As of yesterday, 99 bikers had paid their bail or were in the process of being bonded out, Stubblefield said. The remaining 78 have been in jail since May 17, when nine people were killed and 18 wounded at a lunchtime shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs and police at the Twin Peaks restaurant. Police arrested all of the bikers at the scene and charged them with the same crime: engaging in organized crime. All 177 faced a $1 million bond. The sky-high bond, which has kept most of the bikers in jail for three weeks, and the carbon-copy charge filed against everyone arrested have prompted an avalanche of criticism from legal experts.

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