Kleinert Rehearing?

D.A.'s appeal in case against former APD officer due May 4

Larry Jackson Jr.'s sister LaKiza Jackson and her daughter Taizia Jackson, with his parents Billie and Larry Mercer
Larry Jackson Jr.'s sister LaKiza Jackson and her daughter Taizia Jackson, with his parents Billie and Larry Mercer (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Charles "Trey" Kleinert had the dismissal of his manslaughter charges affirmed on April 20 by a three-member panel of the 5th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, but that doesn't mean the state's case against the retired Austin Police detective is over. On April 26, District Attorney Margaret Moore issued a press release indicating that she planned to file a motion for a rehearing at the federal appeals court, this time with the court's full roster – 22 judges. "After reviewing the ruling," she said, "I have concluded that the legal issues raised in this case are so important to the state and to local law enforcement agencies that those issues should be considered by the entire court."

A Travis County grand jury indicted Klein­ert for manslaughter in May 2014 for the fatal July 2013 on-duty shooting of Larry Jackson Jr., a 32-year-old black man whom Kleinert came upon and pursued under a bridge along Shoal Creek after presuming that he was attempting to rob a West Austin bank. The longtime APD cop's attorneys successfully argued to have the case moved from state court to federal court, on the grounds that he was working within his capacity as a member of the Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency team created by the FBI. But the trial never came to pass. In Oct­o­ber 2015, U.S. Federal Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the charges, ruling that Kleinert should be entitled to Supremacy Clause immunity (a federal protection of federal officers against state law) because he was acting at the time within the scope of a federal task force – which the 5th Circuit's panel agreed with on April 20.

The state's petition is due today, May 4. Moore told the Chronicle on Tuesday that the decision to move for a rehearing should help her office further understand federal policy. "We think it's important to test the scope of this immunity so that we as a community can understand the implications of an officer's appointment to a task force," she said. Moore wondered aloud how many APD officers are currently assigned to federal task forces, a figure APD's Public Information Office was not able to provide by the time we went to press.

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Margaret Moore, Larry Jackson Jr., Charles Kleinert

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