District attorney’s office fighting to keep glass pipes following judge’s ruling

The Cleveland County DA’s has filed an appeal of Judge Stice’s decision that the property being held by Norman PD must be returned.

Here is a link to the filing on OSCN with the full document.

Here are some excerpts from some of the excellent coverage of the news:

From KFOR http://via.kfor.com/VAoyJ

NORMAN, Okla. – It seems the case involving a Norman business is not over, even after a judge’s ruling earlier this month.

In 2015, Norman police raided ‘The Friendly Market,’ claiming the glass pipes that were sold in the store were considered drug paraphernalia.

In addition to seizing merchandise, store owners said officers seized thousands of dollars from the business.

“Any material pipes that were in this store were paraphernalia regardless of the intent of the user, which is just a complete misreading of the statute,”  defense attorney Blake Lynch told NewsChannel 4 in 2016.

Following the raid, charges were filed against several employees and the owners of the business.

The first trial against a clerk ended in a mistrial, in favor of ‘The Friendly Market.’

In May, Robert Cox and Stephen Holman were found not guilty on charges related to selling drug paraphernalia.

Last month, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said he will not pursue the case any further.

Instead, the state dismissed all charges in the case.

However, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn sought to hold on to glass pipes, bongs and other items from The Friendly Market because he said returning them would be illegal.

Mashburn’s office made its claims in a memo written to Judge Steve Stice, even after the courts found The Friendly Market’s owners not guilty of selling drug paraphernalia.

From Jacob McGuire of the Norman Transcript https://goo.gl/nEEMZF

Cleveland County Judge Steve Stice ruled during a July 5 hearing that the items Norman police seized from the Friendly Market in 2015 be returned to Cox. The state is now challenging that ruling.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn announced his intent to file an appeal today in the Friendly Market return of property case.

“Please be advised that the State of Oklahoma intends to file a an Application to Assume Original Jurisdiction and Petition for Writ of Mandamus before the Oklahoma Supreme Court for relief in CP-17-33, Application of Robert Cox For the Return of Personal Property, by the close of business today (Monday),” Assistant District Attorney Heather Darby said in an email.

Friendly Market attorney Blake Lynch said the announcement was not surprising.

From Brianna Bailey of The Oklahoman

Heather R. Darby, assistant district attorney, notified the court in an email Monday that the state planned to file an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court to keep Cox from getting the store inventory back.

“Pursuant to court rules, I presume the filing of this action in the Oklahoma Supreme Court will stay your (Stice’s) order to return the property to Mr. Cox and the property will remain in the custody of Norman Police Department until such time the state’s request for relief can be resolved,” Darby said in the email.

In May, Cleveland County jurors acquitted Cox, 63, and former store manager, Stephen Holman, 32, on a felony charge of acquiring proceeds from drug activity, and 12 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, after a six-day trial. Holman is an elected city councilman in Norman.

From The Tulsa World

Stice ordered the items returned earlier this month. The judge says he couldn’t decide whether items confiscated from Friendly Market were drug paraphernalia and that prosecutors didn’t produce evidence showing they shouldn’t be returned to owner Robert Cox. Mashburn’s appeal says Stice avoided his duty by “legislating from the bench” and requiring prosecutors to prove the items’ return is prohibited.

Thanks again as always to the journalist who continue to provide coverage on this protracted legal battle we have endured for the last 2 years.

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