Indicted LaFollette Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger appeared in court yesterday leaving with only a new court date.
His attorney, Jim Bell, had filed a motion to dismiss the felony indictment against his client as well as a request to sever Bolinger’s case from that of his co-defendants. The second motion wasn’t heard.
During court on Monday, Bell noted his motion to dismiss the charges was “self-explanatory.”
Within the motion, Bell said, if the court “could not articulate at all the substance of the charges” Bolinger is facing, the charges should be dismissed.
At the core of Bell’s motion was the wording of the indictment that accuses the vice-mayor of violating “regulations and procedures” of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. The details of Bolinger’s alleged crimes should be detailed and to accuse him of violating the rules and regulations of a state department is vague, Bell asserted.
On Monday, he was met with Eighth Judicial District Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne’s Sexton’s solution.
“I am prepared to read the indictment,” Sexton said. This move didn’t satisfy Bell who maintained he wanted someone to explain the substance of the charges.
“That’s not my job,” Sexton responded.
Bell’s response to this was to tell the judge a reading of the indictment wouldn’t help, because the language in it was “vague.”
A defendant should know what they are accused of and Bolinger’s indictment doesn’t do that, Bell insisted. And the state has failed to provide any clarity on the charges, he added.
Sexton said he wouldn’t know anything above the indictment before him, which prompted Bell to ask for a dismissal of charges.
Instead of a dismissal, Sexton offered another solution.
He established a Sept. 4 deadline for the state to produce the evidence it has against Bolinger.
Not to be bested, Bell suggested the state amend the wording of the indictment to eliminate the section referencing the “rules and regulations.”
Assistant District Attorney General Lindsay Cadle interjected at this point.
Prosecutors could do that, but it would open Bolinger up to “hundreds of counts,” she said.
Sexton held firm with the September deadline and reset the case for Oct. 15.
In June, Bolinger, Jennifer Brown and Jimmie Ivey were charged with a myriad of crimes revolving around food stamp fraud and theft. The indictment was the culmination of a months long investigation into the Pop Shop in LaFollette.
In the event Bolinger either pleads guilty or is convicted of a felony, he would have to resign from his seat on the LaFollette City Council per the city’s charter. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/24/2018-6AM)