City of LaFollette Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger is expected in court this morning.
His attorney, James Bell, has two motions before the court that are scheduled to be heard.
The first is a motion to dismiss the five criminal charges his client is facing.
In June, Bolinger, Jennifer Brown and Jimmie Ivey were charged with a myriad of crimes revolving around food stamp fraud and theft operating out of a store in La Follette called the Pop Shop.
Bell wants the charges against his client dismissed. He will argue that because the court “could not articulate at all the substance of the charges” Bolinger is facing, the charges are moot. At the core of Bell’s motion is the wording of the indictment that accuses the vice-mayor of violating “regulations and procedures” of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. At the arraignment in June, Bell asked for the elements of the charges to be explained and because that didn’t happen, he is crying foul, asserting that a “fair reading of the Presentment” didn’t reveal the details of Bolinger’s alleged crimes.
In the event that motion is denied and the charges stand, Bell filed another motion.
Bolinger wants his case separated from those of his co-defendants. Within that motion, Bell said that for the case to move forward with Bolinger legally tethered to Brown and Ivey would be an injustice. To begin with, Ivey is charged with selling marijuana and Bolinger wasn’t charged with any drug offenses, thus by leaving the cases together, an “injustice” could occur.
The other prong of the motion is that to leave the cases together implies the trio was part of a “common scheme or plan,” the motion said. Furthermore, in laying out the dates of the alleged food stamp fraud, there is no overlap between the days that Bolinger allegedly committed fraud and the dates when Ivey and Brown allegedly committed the same act.
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.
The building where the Pop Shop once operated still stands along the four-lane in La Follette across from a barbecue restaurant. The sign has since been removed and the building was repainted. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/23/2018-6AM)