4/11/09 – Prosecutors counter motion asking for bail for Tony Alamo

Texarkana Gazette
April 11, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Prosecutors counter motion asking for bail for Tony Alamo

Tony Alamo, a minister accused of sexual abuse, should stay behind bars until his May trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a motion filed Friday.

Alamo’s attorneys recently filed a motion asking for bail.

The government’s response, penned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner, noted that Alamo’s lawyers didn’t file their appeal of U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant’s October detention order within 10 days as required by law.

Bryant ordered Alamo jailed after finding him a flight risk and a danger to the community.

If new information arises before trial that would work in favor of a defendant’s release, a detention hearing can be reopened.

“…Defendant simply reviews the record and evidence presented at the October detention hearing and argues the Magistrate Court erred in its evaluation of the evidence,” Jenner’s response said.

The appeal was filed on Alamo’s behalf by Houston, Texas, attorney Don Ervin. Danny Davis of California and Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana make up the rest of the 74-year-old’s defense team.

Alamo is accused of bringing young girls across state lines for sex. Violations of the Mann Act, a federal law that prohibits such conduct, carry with them a “presumption of detention,” Bryant said at Alamo’s
detention hearing.

Jenner’s filing asserts that defendants charged in cases where being held in jail before trial is expected, have the burden of presenting evidence at detention hearings that proves they don’t present a threat
to others or a flight risk.

“Defendants presented the testimony of four witnesses. Of these four, three were life-long members of the defendant’s church,” the response said. “These three witnesses testified (Alamo) …was responsible for their income, housing, clothing and other necessities of life. These witnesses were biased in favor of the defendant…”

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, is currently being held in the Bowie County jail annex located behind the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana.

The appeal filed Tuesday alleges his failing health is being made worse by conditions in the jail and that restrictions on visitors and telephone calls are making it difficult for him to help his lawyers prepare for his upcoming trial.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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