VOL. 114 | NO. 195 | Thursday, October 5, 2000
DA GIBBONS PREPARES AS VIOLENT CRIME RISES
violent crime team
By MARY DANDO
The Daily News
Although violent crime rates fell consistently in the past three years, crime statistics show Memphis still ranks first in forcible rape and fifth in robberies among 29 cities with a population over 500,000.
"The good news is that violent crime figures have fallen three straight years in a row, but Memphis still has some of the most violent crime rates in the nation," said District Attorney General Bill Gibbons.
"Our stated priority is prosecuting violent crimes. Weve made progress but weve a long way to go."
Between January and June, 327 confirmed rapes were reported to the Memphis Police Department, compared to 362 confirmed attacks in the same period of 1999.
During the same time, Memphis police confirmed 1,939 robberies occurred in 2000, compared to 1,765 in 1999.
As part of his continued effort to fight crime and in keeping with the office policy of no plea bargaining on violent crimes, Gibbons has announced a number of promotions, reassignments and new appointments.
Veteran prosecutor Charles Bell has been promoted to division leader in criminal court. Bell has been with the district attorneys office since April 1989.
Assistant district attorney Rosemary Andrews has been reassigned to the Violent Crimes Prosecution Unit.
Andrews joins Karen Cook, Reginald Henderson and James Lammey.
Assistants assigned to the violent crimes unit handle the bulk of cases covered by the no plea bargaining policy. The unit is being expanded so assistants handling the cases will no longer have to cover more than one division of criminal court.
"These cases require the most attention, and we have chosen to expand the prosecutorial team in the violent crimes unit so that those assigned whom we consider most qualified to prosecute such crimes can concentrate their efforts in one division of criminal court," Gibbons said.
In addition to handling most of the violent crimes cases in the courtroom, the assistants will also be involved in screening violent crimes cases and approving initial charges as well as preparing the proposed indictments.
To further strengthen his crime-fighting team, Gibbons assigned Camille McMullen, Betsy Carnesale, Kevin Rardin, Glen Baity, Dan Woody and Alanda Horne Dwyer to the expanded violent crimes unit.
Designated assistants will handle additional duties assigned to them by assistants serving as division leaders in each division of criminal court.
Assistant district attorney Phyllis Gardner has been assigned as the lead felony review assistant. The felony review assistants are responsible for reviewing felony charges in the initial stages and negotiating settlements where possible.
Assistant district attorney David Smith has been promoted division leader in General Sessions Criminal Court, having served as a prosecutor in that court since 1989.
Stephen Hall, Theresa McCusker, David Zak and Scott McCullough were promoted from General Sessions Criminal Court to criminal court.
Assistant district attorney David Shapiro will become the lead prosecutor for the Child Protection Investigation Team that handles child abuse cases. He replaces Dwyer, who joined the violent crimes unit and will serve as a prosecutor in criminal court.
Gibbons also appointed two attorneys to the staff.
Scott Bearup joins the staff after working in private practice. Assigned to juvenile court, he will handle truancy matters and other actions involving parents and legal guardians.
Richard Averwater previously served as assistant district counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice and Immigration and Naturalization Service in New Orleans. He has been assigned to General Sessions Criminal Court.