Weirich, Raleigh, Recycling 

A witness paid in secret, a final hurdle for the mall project, and big money goes green.

Witness paid secretly

A witness in a murder case was secretly paid by government agents; it's a fact never revealed to juries or to defense attorneys in court trials for a Memphis man who has maintained his innocence for nearly two decades.

Andrew Thomas was convicted in 2001 of the 1997 shooting death of an armored truck driver. He's appealed the conviction (and lost) several times. But last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard the case again, this time to consider whether or not open knowledge of a $750 payment to a key witness would have changed the outcome of the trial.

The payment to the witness was made while the U.S. Attorney prosecuted the case. The case became a murder trial when the victim died two years after the shooting. Shelby County District Attorney General (SCDAG) Amy Weirich was the lead prosecutor on Thomas' murder trial. She did not disclose the fact that the witness had been paid to Thomas' attorneys or to jury members during the trial. It is not known if Weirich knew about the payment.

Oral arguments were slated to continue this week in the appeals court on Thomas' case.

State seeks more discipline on Weirich

State attorneys want to increase disciplinary actions against SCDAG Weirich.

Weirich already faces discipline from the Tennessee Supreme Court's Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR) for her conduct during the 2009 murder trial of Noura Jackson. Weirich was the lead attorney on the case.

click to enlarge Amy Weirich
  • Amy Weirich

State attorneys say Weirich never reviewed a critical piece of evidence, a handwritten statement from a witness. Therefore, she could not have determined whether or not the evidence would help Jackson's case, and "failed to exercise appropriate diligence in this matter."

No charges filed in police shooting death

The officers involved in last year's shooting death of Jonathan Bratcher will not face criminal charges, according to Weirich.

Bratcher, 32, was killed by police in January. He fired at officers after fleeing his vehicle to avoid arrest. Weirich said the officers had "lawful justification" to fire their weapons.

Big green goes green

An investment fund spent $3.2 million here to increase Memphis recycling efforts.

Officials announced last week the Closed Loop Fund loaned the amount to the city to aid the transition from a dual-stream recycling system to single-stream recycling.

The city will use the funds to buy 40,000 96-gallon recycling bins. The new, larger carts are expected to help divert 17,000 tons of trash from local landfills annually.

Raleigh Springs Mall project readies for take off

A judge could sign an order next week that would allow the much-delayed Raleigh Springs Mall project to get off the ground.

The plan would raze the existing mall building to make way for a new town center that would include a police precinct, a library, a green space, and more.

A tentative agreement has been reached between the city and one of the last remaining property owners in the mall area, said Memphis City Council member Bill Morrison. The agreement only needs the blessing of Shelby County Circuit Court Judge James Russell, who is set to review the matter on Friday, Nov. 18th.

The city council approved a vision plan for the Raleigh Redevelopment Project in November 2013. A year later, the council approved $23.7 million for the transformation project.

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