Revolution

Committee for Waco Justice Files Complaints

July 28, 1994
Contact: Carol Moore

Washington, D.C.-- Members of the Committee for Waco Justice have filed formal complaints regarding prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the trial of 11 Branch Davidians. Considering the gross misconduct documented in our complaints, we are demanding a new, fair trial with honest prosecutors and an unprejudiced judge.

The Committee's complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility, which investigates all such complaints, has been made against federal prosecutors Ray Jahn, LeRoy Jahn, William Johnston and John Finizy. The complaint alleges prosecutors repeatedly violated the Brady rule, which requires prosecutors to give defense attorneys adequate opportunity to inspect all evidence, and unduly and illegally influenced witnesses.

The Committee's complaint with the Clerk of the U.S. Court has been made against Judge Walter J. Smith of Waco, Texas who presided over the trial. The complaint alleges that Judge Smith exercised extreme judicial prejudice throughout the trial, improperly restricted public access to the whole jury wheel, refused to allow the defense to introduce evidence or witnesses that would prove the defendant's innocence, wrote prejudicial jury instructions, lied to defense attorneys and jurors, unfairly limited defendants' allocution, and unilaterally found the defendants guilty of crimes of which they had not been found guilty by the jury.

In numerous media interviews outspoken jury foreman Sarah Bain has asserted that she and other jurors are incensed that Judge Smith gave Davidians long sentences for conspiracy to murder federal agents and using and carrying machineguns during commission of that crime when jurors found them innocent of conspiracy and never were asked to rule on whether nine of eleven defendants possessed illegal weapons.

Nevertheless, Judge Smith agreed to prosecutors' demands and sentenced Davidians Renos Avraam, Brad Branch, Jaime Castillo, Livingston Fagan and Kevin Whitecliff to 40 year sentences, Graeme Craddock to 20 years, Paul Fatta to 15 years and Ruth Riddle to 5 years. Most Davidian defendants are appealing their sentences and demanding new trials.

For more information please contact the numbers above.

July 28, 1994
Clerk of the Court
U.S. District Court
P.O. Box 1908
Waco, TX 76703

Re: Complaint About Judicial Misconduct by Judge Walter J. Smith in the Trial of the Branch Davidians

The below listed members of the Committee for Waco Justice hereby file a formal complaint with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court regarding judicial misconduct by U.S. District Judge Walter J. Smith in the 1994 trial of eleven Branch Davidians.

There is little doubt Judge Smith's extremely prejudiced actions were motivated by vindictiveness towards the Davidians whom he blamed for the deaths of federal agents. However, Smith also may have been influenced by the fact that during the first half of the Davidian trial he was under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly lying under oath. And the Justice Department desperately needed convictions to excuse BATF and FBI assaults which caused the deaths of four federal agents and over 81 Branch Davidians, mostly women and children.

Below are listed specific instances of misconduct which we have garnered from news reports and court documents and from interviews with court observers, Branch Davidian defendants and attorneys, and trial jurors. (Any inadvertent errors should not discredit any or all other allegations.) Our listing is not all inclusive. Other individuals doubtless will file their own complaints detailing even more instances of misconduct.

Members of the Committee for Waco Justice request that you investigate this complaint and any and all other related complaints against Judge Walter J. Smith. The type of prejudiced, vindictive and dishonest misconduct in which he engaged only discredits the whole judicial system.

Alan Forschler, Ian Goddard, Michelle McKneally, Carol Moore, Dick Sanford, Tim Seims, Andrew Williams.

July 28, 1994
Mr. Michael E. Shaheen, Jr., Counsel
Office of Professional Responsibility
Department of Justice
10th and Constitution Avenues N.W.
Room 4304
Washington, D.C. 20530

Re: Complaint About Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Trial of the Branch Davidians

The below listed members of the Committee for Waco Justice hereby file a formal complaint with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility regarding prosecutorial misconduct. Our complaint concerns the actions of federal prosecutors Ray Jahn, LeRoy Jahn, William Johnston and John Finizy in the 1994 trial of eleven Branch Davidians. According to OPR's guidelines, any member of the public may file such a complaint and you will investigate and report back to them.

There is evidence these prosecutors repeatedly violated the Brady rule which requires prosecutors to give defense attorneys adequate opportunity to inspect all evidence, for and against the defendants, well before it is presented in court. This practice became so flagrant that defense attorney Dan Cogdell filed a motion for a mistrial. There is also evidence prosecutors unduly and illegally influenced witnesses so that they would produce incomplete or false evidence damaging to the Davidians.

Federal prosecutors may have been motivated to engage in misconduct by desires to vindicate their own, BATF, FBI and Justice Department decisions and actions which lead to the deaths of four federal agents and 81 or more Branch Davidians. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bill Johnston and John Finizy were prime motivators of the original BATF investigation and February 28, 1993 raid. Ray Jahn and his wife and assistant LeRoy were special counsels to former FBI Director William Sessions who promoted the fatal April 19, 1993 gas and tank assaults on the Davidians' home.

Below are listed specific instances of misconduct which we have garnered from news reports and court documents and from interviews with court observers, Branch Davidian defendants and attorneys, and trial jurors. (Any inadvertent errors should not discredit any and all other allegations.) Our listing is not all inclusive. Other individuals doubtless will file their own complaints detailing even more instances of misconduct. We expect you will add all new complaints to the ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors Withheld Evidence Regarding Defendant Fagan

Prosecutors Withheld Evidence Regarding Illegal BATF Shooting February 28, 1993

Prosecutors Withheld Evidence Regarding How April 19, 1993 Fire Started

Prosecutors Withheld Evidence Regarding "Star Witness" Kathryn Schroeder

Prosecutors Intimidated or Unduly Influenced Witnesses

The Committee for Waco Justice would like a thorough investigation of whether one or more prosecutors named above were involved in withholding evidence or unduly or illegally influencing witnesses. We would like to see appropriate disciplinary or legal measures taken against culpable prosecutors. We would also like to see any evidence withheld by BATF or the FBI found and disclosed to Branch Davidian defense attorneys.

As you know, after Attorney General Janet Reno decided not to merge your office with that of the Inspector General, some lawmakers expressed dismay. According to the Washington Post, Senator John Glenn asked, "What is going on over there they don't want us to look at?" We hope that your office will not confirm Senator Glenn's suspicions and will do a thorough investigation of our and all other relevant complaints. We expect that you will contact the Committee for Waco Justice about the results of your investigation.