Criminal Court Judge James Beasley Jr. on Thursday praised members of the Balmoral Neighborhood Association for attending the hearing on defendant Anthony Hughes and for taking an active role in trying to preserve peace and stability in their southeast Memphis community.
Hughes pled guilty to reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon for shooting at his grandfather in March of this year in the 2200 block of Ridgeland St. Witnesses said Hughes fired six times from the street in the middle of the day. His grandfather was not hit, but one of the bullets struck a neighbor’s garage while the neighbor was inside his home with his infant son.
The defendant, who has been in jail for the past 5 ½ months, was placed on diversion for three years and was ordered to undergo mental health assessment and treatment. Another condition while on diversion bans Hughes from living in or visiting in Balmoral neighborhood where homeowners said he also had been involved in other uncharged violent incidents. Hughes had been living with relatives in the neighborhood.
The Balmoral homeowners submitted a petition to the court outlining their concerns.
Gen. Weirich said the case illustrates how the geographic-based Community Prosecution pilot program unveiled earlier this year should work. So far, prosecutors have been assigned to three police precincts where they become familiar with the area troublemakers as well as with the area problem solvers.
“We have a heavy emphasis on trying to keep young people out of the criminal justice system with mentoring and job-skill training by church leaders and other volunteers,” said Gen. Weirich, “but there’s also the component that, by establishing closer ties to individual communities, we can build stronger cases for criminal prosecutions. Partners like the Balmoral Neighborhood Association show what we can accomplish when working together.”
The case was prepared by Asst. Dist. Atty. Neal Oldham, Precinct Leader of the Mt. Moriah Community Prosecution Unit who handles all cases from the Mt. Moriah Station Police Precinct. The cases then are taken up by designated prosecutors and tried before the same designated judge.
Asst. Dist. Attys. Devon Lepeard and Steve Ragland handled the case in Criminal Court.