Friday, April 5, 2013

Father, son always aware of risks in prosecution

Waco – For a veteran prosecutor, the threat of violence is never far away.

When he recalls the day that unknown vandals trashed his residence and left a threatening note, retired Justice Felipe Reyna's face splits into a happy grin.

Judge Felipe Reyna on the day he was sworn in
“They tore up all the plants in the flower beds and planters,” he recalls. “They even left a note that said, 'We're going to run the Mexican District Attorney back to his home - in Mexico!'” His reaction is one of hilarity when he is reminded he's not from Mexico, only nearby Moody.

“I was the DA at the time. I was running a Grand Jury investigation that lasted six months of all the illegal gambling in the community.” He shrugs. It was just one of those things.

But it had a chilling effect on his family.

His son Abel was just a boy. “He said, 'Hey, dad, I've got my BB gun handy, here.'” Lawmen whisked Judge Reyna's wife and children away to a more secure location at a relative's house. “For several months, there were two cop cars parked at my house.”

Today, Abel Reyna is the Criminal District Attorney of McLennan County. He's heading a law firm that serves The People of the State of Texas with stepped-up Grand Jury sessions he worked out with the cooperation of the two District Judges who hear criminal matters in McLennan County. His office has returned twice the number of indictments since January 2011, and there is a remaining case load of about 1,200, with double the number of misdemeanors yet to be adjudicated.

“They are here,” said Judge Reyna, referring to the hired killers the drug cartels call sicarios. He also acknowledged that the heavily tattooed members of white supremacist prison gangs also have their paid assassins, doing what the Aryan Brotherhood calls “riding for the brand.”

He lamented the fact that men of the law are ultra-predictable. “They have to go to work at the courthouse. 9 a.m. It's easy to find them.”

“Abel and his wife went to the memorial service this morning,” said Judge Reyna. He shrugs again, sadly.

Governor Rick Perry appointed him to the 10th District Court of Appeals as an associate when Chief Justice Tom Gray won his election to the key slot in 2004.

An assistant U.S. Attorney got stuck in San Antonio's snarled morning traffic on his way to the courthouse. That's when the rear doors of a van in front of his Lincoln burst open and a gunman hosed down the car. The man survived only because he dove into the floor of the driver's compartment, then squeezed himself in under the dashboard where the firewall and engine block protected him.


  1. I'm impressed..NOT

  2. Not too different than Al Capone during the days of Prohibition. The War on Drugs is a very dramatic and deadly farce.