Tag Archive for: Felony

Forkland Mayor Surrenders to Face Felony Charges. Derrick Biggs, the mayor of Forkland, Alabama, has surrendered to Greene County authorities and will now face charges of first-degree theft and tampering with government records. Biggs had been sought by police since it was discovered that more than $6,000 was missing from the Forkland’s water department. If convicted, Biggs would have to vacate the office of mayor of the town since state law prohibits a person with a felony conviction from holding elective office. Records show that Biggs was booked into the Greene County Jail at 11:49 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

An investigation by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office remains ongoing. However, Forkland’s water clerk, Allene Broadwater, reported on Monday that a total of $6,413.19. Furthermore, is currently unaccounted for between December 2013 and April 2014.  The discrepancy was first found a few months ago when Broadwater examined the daily cash payments and nightly deposits.  She reported this information to her supervisor. Therefore, who discovered the discrepancies were only taking place on deposits made by or approved by Biggs.

Biggs won his position in an August 2012 municipal election. He is now the second consecutive mayor of the town to be accused of stealing public money while in office.  The former mayor of Forkland, Eddie J. Woods, left office after facing a theft charge in Greene County Circuit Court for allegedly stealing money from the town.  The case against Woods is still pending.

In the state of Alabama, theft of property in the first degree is a Class B felony.  The sentencing range for this crime is no more than twenty years in prison, and no less than two years. A fine may also be imposed for these charges, but may not exceed $10,000.00.

If you or someone you know has been accused of theft, it is important that you contact a criminal attorney to handle your case.  The lawyers at Boles Holmes White are experienced in a variety of legal matters and have a history of success in the courtroom. Call to schedule a free consultation today.

Birmingham Police Arrest 15 in Operation Recoil. A total of 15 individuals have been arrested in an ongoing attempt by law enforcement to crack down on the illegal sales of firearms and drugs.  United States Marshals and ATF agents teamed up with Birmingham Police Department’s Crime Reduction and Neighborhood Enforcement teams to apprehend the suspects in a round-up that is part of bigger effort known as, “Operation Recoil”.

The suspects arrested are accused of a variety of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to felony possession of firearms.  Authorities also allege that seven individuals were involved in a nationwide scheme that used stolen credit card numbers to buy guns online.  These firearms were sent to Birmingham where another group illegally sold them, often to convicted felons. According to police, much of this activity was going on in the eastern portion of Birmingham.

However, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said the following in a released statement:  “Our department’s number priority is reducing violent crime. We’ve reported historic crime reductions in the City of Birmingham but much work remains to be done,”

The 15 suspects arrested by police are:

  • Lance Alexander – Conspiracy to Obtain Illegal firearm
  • Brian Beasley – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Quantrey Bryant – Credit Card Fraud, Illegally Obtaining a Firearm, Wire Fraud
  • Michael Chavis – Federal Indictments
  • Christopher Collins – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Marquette Harris – Conspiracy to Obtain Illegal Firearm
  • Eric Jones – Felon in Possession Conspiracy, Possession of a Firearm during Drug Trafficking Crime, 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute  Methamphetamine
  • Christiana Peavy – Federal Indictment
  • Curtis Robinson – Federal Indictment
  • Mizell Sanders – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Clifford Smith – Felon in Possession
  • Norman Stanton – Federal Indictment
  • Larry Steel – 4 Counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 3 counts of Possession of a Firearm during Drug Trafficking Crime, 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute  Cocaine
  • Lerrell Dowdell – 2 counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 2 counts of Distribution of Heroin,  Felon in Possession of a Firearm/Heroin
  • Antonio Watkins – Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Birmingham Man Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges. Johnny Jerell Effinger, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted murder before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd during a hearing on Tuesday November 12, 2013.  Each charge is a class A felony. Furthermore, is punishable with 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $60,000.

These charges stem from the following incidents that took place in 2012:

  • On April 2, 2012, Effinger was charged with attempted murder after he shot at another man who he had taken money from.
  • On March 20, 2012, Effinger robbed two people at gun point on 1st avenue North. According to the indictment, he stole $100, two cellular phones, a debit card, and a purse from the victims.
  • On September 26, 2012, Effinger was involved in a robbery at O’Reilly Auto Parts on Gadsden Highway.  Prosecutors say that he acted as a lookout while another man broke into the business. While he took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the scene.

Under a plea agreement with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office, Johnny Jerell Effinger was given a 20 year split sentence with five years in prison and five years on probation.  If he breaks the terms of his probation, the judge could impose the remainder of his 20 year prison sentence.

Attorney Charles Salvagio represented Effinger in this case.

Preliminary Hearings. Alabama criminal procedure allows persons arrested on a felony warrant to have a preliminary hearing.  This is to be requested by your criminal attorney within 30 days of your arrest.  As a practical matter, many counties in Alabama automatically set these on all felony arrests. Although, this does not apply in all counties.  If you want a preliminary hearing in Alabama, you should make sure it is requested within the proper time period.

After you have requested a preliminary hearing, it should be set within 21 days.  However, if it is not set within 21 days, a criminal defendant’s recourse is simply to be released from the county jail. Unless they are charged with a non-bailable offense, such as capital murder.  If they are charged with a crime not subject to bail, the presiding Circuit Judge is to be notified. After that, is to set a preliminary hearing immediately.

A preliminary hearing is not available for arrests on violations or misdemeanors, only on felonies.  Preliminary hearings are heard by the District Court Judge in the Alabama County in which you were arrested.  Typically, the State of Alabama will only call the arresting officer to testify at the preliminary hearing. Therefore, because “hearsay” evidence is admissible in this type of proceeding.  Therefore, the prosecutor will call the arresting officer or investigating officer. Furthermore, to relay to the Court all of the evidence that has been gathered.  On occasion, usually in more serious cases with an incarcerated defendant. The State will call additional fact witnesses to establish the identity of the defendant. For instance, to ensure the Court finds probable cause.

The preliminary hearing is not held in an effort to determine guilt or innocence.   The hearing is simply for the District Court Judge to determine whether probable cause exists to forward your felony case to the County Grand Jury.  There is not a State provided court reporter present for preliminary hearings. So if you want to have a criminal preliminary hearing recorded and transcribed, you have to make arrangements for a court reporter to be present.

If the Court finds probable cause, then they will “bind over” the case to the Grand Jury.  If your case is dismissed at preliminary hearing, that does not mean your case is over.  While it will not be “bound over” to the grand jury. The District Attorney can still present the case to the grand jury if he chooses.  This means the grand jury can still indict you, even if the District Judge dismisses your case at preliminary hearing.

Many criminal attorneys have these in certain cases in an effort to obtain discovery in their clients criminal case, knowing that judges very rarely dismiss cases at preliminary hearing.  However, all judges are aware of this practice and usually try to limit a criminal attorney’s ability to question witnesses on evidentiary issues such as suppression based on an illegal search.

Many District Attorney’s, in an effort to reduce the amount of time their prosecutors spend in preliminary hearings, have resorted to providing “open file discovery” if criminal defendants will waive their preliminary hearing.  This means, the criminal attorney representing the accused will have open access to the District Attorney’s file.  This can often be useful as the criminal attorney can then get access to reports that are otherwise not discoverable under Rule 16 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Our criminal attorneys at Boles Holmes White look at each case individually to determine the necessity of a preliminary hearing.  If the case is weak, and our client is incarcerated, we will likely demand a hearing on the hopes of getting the case dismissed and our client released from jail.  If our client is not in custody, we evaluate whether a this is useful to our case based on a number of factors such as 1.  Strength of the case; 2.  The judge presiding over the preliminary hearing; 3.  The evidence we feel we can obtain from this; and 4.  Whether we feel we can convince the District attorney to drop the charges by having a preliminary hearing, or whether we feel the case will be presented to the Grand Jury regardless.

In come cases, preliminary hearings can be useful.  In others, they can be useless.  It is usually best to rely on an experienced criminal attorney to advise you whether a preliminary hearing in Alabama is in your best interest.