Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Part of Mychal Bell's conviction dropped; charges reduced

By Howard Witt at the Chicago Tribune:
HOUSTON — Ruling in a racially charged case that has drawn scrutiny from national civil rights leaders, a judge in the small central Louisiana town of Jena on Tuesday partially vacated the conviction of a black teenager accused in the beating of a white student while the district attorney reduced attempted murder charges against two other black co-defendants.

Judge J.P. Mauffray threw out a conspiracy conviction against Mychal Bell, granting a defense motion that Bell's June trial was improperly held in adult court and should instead have been conducted as a juvenile proceeding.

But Mauffray let stand Bell's conviction on aggravated second-degree battery, for which the 17-year-old faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 20. On that date, thousands of demonstrators from across the nation are planning to descend on the town of 3,000 to protest the prosecution of Bell and five other black youths who have come to be called the "Jena 6."
[O]n Tuesday, Walters similarly reduced the charges against defendants Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw, whose trials are set for January.
Bell's new defense attorneys said they plan further appeals before the Sept. 20 sentencing hearing in a bid to get his remaining conviction vacated.
H/T AfroSpear blog.

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