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Sirens & Gavels

‘This isn’t a time for just yakking’

Sentencing for a Spokane man was delayed today after a judge demanded more information from the defense.

Anthony D. Singh, 21, faces about 16 to 18 years in prison for a shooting in a downtown parking lot that didn’t injure anyone but brought his gang affiliations the focus of a jury trial last month.

At issue during the late afternoon hearing before Judge Kathleen O’Connor were sentencing-related matters like Singh’s offender score, sentencing range and the defense’s briefing.

“This isn’t a time for just yakking about it, counsel,” this is a time for analysis and case law, O’Conner told Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell and defense lawyer Thomas Cooney.

The lawyers argued in the courtroom after the hearing before storming away. The new sentencing date is set for Feb. 10. Singh, who O’Connor said was at one point considering acting as his own attorney, objected to the delay.

Singh’s ties to the violent Crips street gang were key to the prosecution’s case, which netted Singh convictions for second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault, drive-by shooting, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and witness tampering. The jury acquitted him of witness intimidation.

Singh has been in jail since July 30, 2008, four days after a bullet struck Alex Tauala in his right shoe in a parking lot near Sprague and Stevens. Prosecutors say the shooting was in response to a challenge from Tauala and stemmed from a culture of retaliation and intimidation rife in gang life.

Cooney has said he plans to appeal. He filed an unsuccessful motion earlier this month asking for a new trial because a Spokane police officer mentioned one of Singh’s previous criminal convictions in front of the jury.

Singh “was convicted on his propensity to commit crime and for being a bad person who is a gang member, rather than on admissible character evidence,” Cooney wrote.

Past coverage: Crips gangster on trial in Spokane

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