A Louisiana appeals court Friday vacated the remaining conviction of a teenager accused in a violent, racially charged incident in Jena, Louisiana, his attorney said. Mychal Bell’s defense team will be filing a motion to get him out of prison.
Bob Noel said the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lake Charles threw out the conviction for second degree battery against Mychal Bell, saying the charges should have been brought in juvenile court.
“We’re happy now, but tomorrow is another day,” Noel told reporters.
The future of the case against Bell is up to the district attorney, who must decide whether to refile the charges in juvenile court, Noel said.
“We have to wait and see what the other side’s going to do, how they’re going to react,” he said.
Bell’s defense team would be filing a motion to get him out of prison, where he has been since his arrest in December, Noel said.
“The primary concern is to get Mychal Bell out of jail and into school where he needs to be,” he said.
Bell, who is now 17, was 16 at the time of the fight in December 2006.
Earlier this month, a district court judge vacated a conviction for conspiracy to commit second degree battery, saying that charge should have been brought in juvenile court. He left standing the second degree battery conviction, however.
A sentencing hearing that had been scheduled for September 20 is now off, he said.
Hear some reactions to the thrown-out convictions.
This victory must be driven home. Let’s begin to look at the DA, and how racism plays into disparities in charges and selective prosecution. DAs get political points for “slam dunking”.
You’re right about the political points for appearing to take a tough stand when in this case the DA is ruining lives over a school yard fight with lethal athletic shoes.
Will the rally in Jena focus on this now?