Alleged BGF leader being held in poor conditions, lawyer says

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemBlack Guerrilla Family

As the alleged leader of the Black Guerrilla Family gang at the Baltimore jail, Tavon White could get access to pretty much whatever he wanted, according to federal prosecutors: drugs, phones, money and sex.

But he is now being held under more straightened circumstances at a state prison in Cumberland, according to his attorney, who is asking a judge to reconsider the conditions of his detention.

“The totality of his belongings were as follows: a jump suit, one pair of underwear, shower sandals, a sheet for the bed. Period,” the lawyer, Gary E. Proctor, wrote in a court filing.

White is accused of running a lucrative smuggling operation at the Baltimore City Detention Center, coordinating with gang members on the outside and corrupt corrections officers to bring contraband into the jail. White also had sexual relationships with the officers, getting four of them pregnant, according to prosecutors.

Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the corrections department, said White’s property arrived a couple days after he did but has since been given to him.

Proctor wrote the judge that he went to visit White but was only allowed to confer with him for an hour and then only through a glass screen.

“It appears possible, if not probable, that Mr. White’s continued incarceration by the Maryland Department of Corrections will harm the attorney-client relationship and effective preparation for trial,” Proctor added.

The U.S. attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, has agreed to have a hearing on the issue, Proctor wrote, but no court date has been set.

Binetti said prison authorities have been working to accommodate Proctor’s requests.

“The warden has been personally coordinating visits and phone calls with the lawyer since White's arrival,” he said. “The warden has spoken with his lawyer personally.”

“There are normal visiting hours, but because he is a pretrial detainee his lawyer has been informed — again, personally by the warden — that he is allowed to visit whenever it is convenient,” he added. “Tavon White can also make phone calls to the lawyer as well any time he needs to.”

People awaiting federal charges in Baltimore are typically held at the Chesapeake Detention Facility, a state-run facility adjacent to the jail.

In recent days, lawyers for some of the 25 people accused in the case have been signing standard agreements with prosecutors that lay out the terms on which they will be able to review the evidence in the case.

In an effort to protect witnesses, the U.S attorney’s office agrees to give all the evidence to defense teams on condition that they not turn over copies to their clients.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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