Oftentimes, criminal arrests lead to multiple charges. For example, an arrest related to a violent crime often involves weapons charges as well as charges for assault or battery, and perhaps theft or drug possession. If an accused person is indicted on multiple charges, the jury needs to understand each charge and must be able to separate them during the verdict process.
Seven alleged Southwest Philadelphia gang members, who were part of a group known as the "Harlem Boys," were convicted of 53 total charges on Dec. 6 after 13 hours of jury deliberation. The jury did not convict the men of 20 other charges in the case, which has been in court since Sept. 24. According to reports, most of those 20 charges related to illegal weapons. There were so many charges associated with the case that it took the presiding judge almost 30 minutes to read the verdict.
One of the individuals being charged was a 28-year-old man who was accused of being a lead gunman. Even though the man was convicted of 13 gun charges, including possession of semiautomatic weapons by a convicted felon, his defense attorney felt the jury did a good job in separating the various allegations.
The seven men are scheduled for sentencing during the first week of March 2013. The men all face potential life sentences. Minimum sentences for each man range from 25 to 125 years.
Possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony can mean additional charges and an increased prison sentence in the case of a conviction. Any individual who is arrested on multiple charges should understand the options for a defense against each allegation.
Source: Philly.com, "7 members of S.W. Phila. gang convicted of range of charges," Joseph A. Slobodzian, Dec. 7, 2012