Nearly 15 defendants in Tennessee’s racketeering indictment against the Athens Park Bloods gang will receive more information regarding their alleged roles in the conspiracy sometime this month. The defendants filed what’s known as a “bill of particulars,” which essentially asks the state to give them more specifics about the charges brought against them.
Since March, evidence has been a focal point in the case. According to prosecutors, the street gang is allegedly responsible for killing a witness, burglarizing homes, starting fires, selling drugs, and using ill-gotten proceeds to bail fellow members out of jail. Each of the 54 defendants faces, at a minimum, a Class B felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.
Criminal defense lawyers say this situation is unique. Consider a typical criminal case where defendants have a general idea as to why they were arrested and charged. With this particular case, however, the majority of defendants aren’t sure what specific offense they committed to advance the gang.
That’s why Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz told prosecutors to turn over the evidence. Per Zack Peterson of the Times Free Press, some criminal defense attorneys “said they hadn’t received specific evidence about their clients’ roles.”
Peterson goes on to explain that evidence is a must for any local defense attorney. Furthermore, they need to know the state’s witnesses, any unindicted co-conspirators, and potential conflicts of interest, as well as other helpful information that would aid in their efforts to file strong motions.
This wasn’t the only update in the case. After a lengthy argument, Judge Greenholtz said he would take a motion to dismiss already filed by defense attorneys for Cortez Sims under advisement. As our law firm explained in a previous post, Sims was charged with the 2014 murder of a 14-year-old and was convicted one year later of the murder of Talitha Bowman in College Hill Courts.
John Cavett and Josh Weiss, both of whom are attorneys at our Chattanooga law office, “said the state racketeering law calls on prosecutors to show that defendants had a financial gain for each alleged crime they committed for the gang.”
Cavett is quoted in the article saying, “The Legislature certainly could have made that more clear. They could have amended the legislative history to say, “with respect to the gang crimes, it’s not to the same degree focused on financial gains.”
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