Judge dismisses some charges against RICO defendants
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — A Hamilton County Criminal court judge threw out some of the charges against suspects in the RICO case.
In his opinion issued on Friday, Judge Tom Greenholtz dismissed count one, the racketeering charge, for most of the defendants who are accused of being in the Athens Park Bloods gang.
In March of 2018, the Hamilton County District Attorney announced he indicted the gang as a criminal enterprise under the Rico Act.
Judge Greenholtz wrote the state failed to show the existence of two predicate acts occurring within two years of each other, and failed to establish a pattern of racketeering activity.
Lawyers not involved with the case reacted to the decision.
“it appears that Judge Greenholtz did a strict construction of the statute itself and in that strict construction, it looks like, when you look at the black letter of the law he is absolutely on point. I think it would get upheld on appeal if that goes up on appeal by the state,” Robin Flores said.
Lawyers wonder if state laws could eventually change.
“Use it in such a way where it had teeth, that you need to give it more teeth and make it like the federal statute, because it looks like it was an attempt by the state in essence to take a group of people off the street,” Flores said.
The defendants still face racketeering conspiracy charges.
“He didn’t shut the door on them. Tennessee still has very strong conspiracy laws where the state can still accomplish their mission,” Flores said.
The people charged in this case are expected to be back in court at the end of September.
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