Chase Dearman Mobile AL NYE Attorney DUI

NBC15: NYE shooter held without bond under new Aniah’s Law

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The accused killer in the New Year’s Eve mass shooting in downtown Mobile will be held without bond under Aniah’s law, which aims to keep particularly dangerous and violent offenders off the streets. A detention hearing was held Thursday afternoon for Thomas Thomas, who is accused of opening fire on Dauphin Street and killing Jatarius Rieves.

A homicide detective testified 22 shots were fired that night. The call to police came in at 11:14 PM. Four officers were in the immediate proximity. In total, 10 people were shot. One of the shooting victims told the detective it sounded like a machine gun. Police testified Thomas had a 40 caliber Glock handgun with an extended clip and modified it illegally by putting a switch on it, which turns semi-automatic guns into automatic ones. Police say ballistic evidence shows he fired 16 of the 22 shots. One of those struck Jatarius Rieves in the head. Another person 23-year-old Morgan Peters fired back 6 shots. He was also critically wounded.

Surveillance video captured the shooting and moments leading up to it. Both sides conceded the incident appeared to begin with words exchanged. But the defense claims after those words were exchanged, Rieves was the aggressor, and Thomas acted in self-defense.

“He said, ‘I’m going to shoot.’ I don’t wish to cuss on the news, but ‘I wish to shoot you.’ And then when he came back, pull this up. He thought he was pulling the gun to shoot it. I mean, it’s that simple. And unfortunately, not only is he denied bond, but he’s not going to be able to get an immunity hearing until he gets to circuit court,” said defense attorney Chase Dearman.

The court room was packed, and there were some tense moments in court. The judge ordered no contact between the two sides. The Public Safety Director, as well as Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine were in attendance, which is unusual for pretrial hearings.

“This is a new law and we want to make sure certainly that the judicial system, we want to make sure that the prosecutors are understanding just how important this law is for us and certainly for Mobilians here in the city,” said Prine.

The detention hearing district court also served as Thomas’ preliminary hearing. The case will now go to a grand jury. Thomas’ defense attorney says he plans to appeal the no bond order.

Original Article found here.
By Andrea Ramey
Thursday, January 12th 2023

NBC: Exclusive NBC 15 Obtains Report Showing How Much Law Enforcement Seized

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The state is shining the light on what’s been criticized as the secretive practice of civil asset forfeiture, where police can take what’s yours if they believe it’s tied to criminal activity even if no criminal charges are ever filed. State law now requires more transparency. NBC 15 News has obtained a copy of the first state report released showing how much and what was seized in Alabama.

“If they find cash in a search warrant, they will take it,” said defense attorney Chase Dearman.

As was the case in 2013 when Mobile Police seized $15,000 from William Anderson’s home. The state had to give it back after the Alabama Circuit Court of Appeals later found the money was “illegally obtained” because the search warrant was “improperly executed.”

“This is the United State of America. It’s called due process,” said Dearman.

Dearman is highly critical of civil assets forfeiture and has successfully fought against it. In another case, he says police seized hundreds of thousands from a drug suspect who just so happened to have also won a large worker’s compensation settlement.

“And he had it in his shoe box, and they took every bit of it despite the fact he had documentation of the source of the income,” said Dearman.

A new report that’s now mandated by law to be published shows Alabama last year seized $4.8 million. District attorneys and the arresting agencies keep all of it. The report also shows 470 weapons were seized, 94 in Mobile County alone. That was the highest of any county in the state.

“It’s a very important law enforcement tool that can be used to protect the public. I don’t think anybody wants a drug dealer to profit from what he’s doing,” said Baldwin County District Attorney Robert Wilters.

Wilters has a very simple counter to critics of civil assets forfeiture.

“If we can’t prove our case, we don’t win. We don’t get it,” said Wilters.

Wilters also believes more transparency with reports like this will lead to less distrust of law enforcement.

“The only way we can do that is get the facts to the public,” said Wilters.

To view the full report, click here.