A predictable ruling by a federal judge on Friday limited the legal options for accused Cocke County moonshiner James Carroll Hickman, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Leon Jordan indicated he will not consider Hickman’s pretrial motions because they were filed 27 days past the Sept. 20 deadline and just 19 days before trial.
“To allow the requested relief would render the court’s deadlines and scheduling orders virtually meaningless,” Jordan’s order states.
Hickman’s lawyer, L. Dudley Senter III, represented in a motion for late-filing of pretrial motions that plea-bargain “negotiations have broken down completely and this matter will more likely than not proceed to trial.”
“Ongoing plea negotiations or not, the defendant was aware of the pretrial deadline and did not comply with it,” Jordan’s order further states.
Another deadline that’s fast approaching is Tuesday’s plea-bargain cutoff date.
By press time today, neither Hickman nor his two codefendants, the reputed shot-caller, Jack Mayfield Jr., and Michael Steve Reece, had indicated they plan to plead guilty.
Their trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Nov. 5.
Hickman’s lawyer didn’t indicate the reason why the plea-bargain negotiations deadlocked.
What seems a lot more certain is this is a federal prosecution in which the U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t appear to need a lot of help from Hickman or his two codefendants.
When law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Mayfield’s Beechwood Road property in the Carson Springs Community of Cocke County, they found at least 15 500-gallon moonshine stills, according to court documents.
The cooperating witnesses include a former still hand who continued to buy moonshine after he stopped working for Mayfield, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Kerney-Quillen.
Law enforcement officials have also identified Mayfield’s corn supplier – a man who traded his crop for white lightning – and they know where the defendant purchased propane to fire the stills, the federal prosecutor indicated in court filings.
Mayfield allegedly continued to sell moonshine after his stills were raided. The identity of the confidential informant has not been publicly disclosed, but the possibilities are numerous.
The defendant allegedly sold moonshine to the “general public,” according to the federal prosecutor.
- By Robert Moore, Tribune Staff Writer