Student accused of using crutch as weapon during football brawl heads to trial
Courtesy of WSCO
The Pioneer High School student accused of using his crutch as a dangerous weapon during last fall's fight following a football game will continue on to trial.
Bashir Garain appeared in the Washtenaw County Trial Court Tuesday for his final pretrial hearing where Judge Donald Shelton granted the prosecution's request to a week adjournment of the trial's start date.
The trial date had been set for April 1 and is now scheduled to begin April 8. Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra requested the adjournment due to a scheduling conflict with an "essential witness" of the prosecution.
Garain's attorney, Walter White, did not object. He told Shelton he still needed to supply a list of witnesses to the prosecutor's office.
Shelton granted the request and the hearing was over in less than five minutes. Throughout the proceedings, Garain silently stood behind he podium wearing a dress shirt, tie and vest. He didn't speak throughout.
When interviewed after the hearing, White would not discount the possibility of a plea deal being struck before the trial begins.
"You get a guaranteed result," White said about a plea deal in general. A trial, on the other hand, "you either win all the way or lose all the way."
White said there have been offers from the prosector's office, though he declined to elaborate on their details. Though there are no other hearings planned before the trial date, a deal could still be struck at this point, he said.
A group of protesters from Ann Arbor Concerned Citizens for Justice were on-hand before and during a hearing in the matter for the second time Tuesday. The group filled a courtroom in the morning where a disposition -- equivalent to a sentencing -- was adjourned in the case of one of the juvenile students in the same on-field fight.
The group says the cases against the three black students are racially motivated and have requested the prosecutor's office to drop all charges against Garain and a third student, a 17-year-old boy due in court April 5. The 17-year-old who appeared in court Tuesday morning already has been found responsible in his case.
Since he is 18, Garain is the only student being charged as an adult, which is why his name is being released. He faces two felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery.
The Ann Arbor Board of Education got into the mix last week when it passed a resolution asking the prosecutor's office to "reevaluate the degree of criminalization" of the three students' alleged behavior during the fight.
"We appreciate the support from the community," White said, adding he and his client didn't solicit it.
When asked if the protests have affected the case in any way, White said, "It hasn't so far."