The case against three North Carolina State University football players facing drug charges filed in April was dismissed by a Wake County judge this week.
Senior offensive lineman Jake Vermiglio, redshirt junior defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy, redshirt junior defensive tackle Markus Kuhn and redshirt junior tight end George Bryan were found by police in an apartment April 24th with marijuana, drug paraphernalia and ephedrine, a substance officially banned by the NCAA.
Lawyers for three of the players, all facing misdemeanor drug charges that could have negatively affected their college and potentially professional careers, argued the case should be thrown out due to improper search procedure by Raleigh police officers.
District Court Judge Keith Gregory dismissed the case, dropping charges against Vermiglio, Sweezy, and Kuhn after testimony of Raleigh Police Sergeant Rick Hoffman revealed that officers had crossed the threshold of the apartment without permission. It is unlawful for officers to enter a dwelling at a crime scene absent permission, an obvious security threat, or danger of destruction of evidence. The officers had asked to search, but were refused by the players. A warrant was later obtained and an official search conducted which turned up the illegal drugs.
The defense argued evidence obtained in the search should not be taken into consideration as the entry was illegal and unconstitutional under the 4th amendment.
Judge Gregory noted that while he didn’t believe the officers intended to break the law, it is quite clear that entry was unlawful. Therefore, the case was dismissed.
Bryan’s attorney had previously requested a continuation of his client’s case, but in light of Judge Gregory’s ruling, that player will now be asking for his case to be dismissed as well.
Source: ABC11 “Judge dismisses drug case against NC State players” 7/27/10