May 6, 2009
 
Charges Reduced Against Two Starting MU Football Players
 
By Tony Rutherford
Huntingtonnews.net Reporter
 
Huntington, WV (HNN) – Charges against two Marshall University football players for felony drug possession with intent to deliver will be reduced to a misdemeanor, according to the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department.
 
Early word indicates that neither Darius Marshall and DeQuan Bembry had enough marijuana in their possession to be charged with a felony with the intent to distribute. They had been arrested over the weekend near a DUI Sheriff’s Department road check.
 
At the time of arrest, the officer, not specially trained in drug crimes, erred on the side of caution in bringing the felony charge. However, under West Virginia law, possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana is presumed to be for personal use, explained Cabell County Chief Deputy Doug Ferguson.
 
Prosecutor Chris Chiles indicated that the Marshall players have not received special treatment, but due to the media attention of their arrests and their notoriety, the Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s Office is publically clarifying the charges.
 
At a preliminary hearing now scheduled May 11, 2009, the felony charges against the two players will be dropped and replaced with misdemeanor marijuana possession of under 15 grams.
 
The prosecutor explained why an arresting officer might “error on the side of caution” by activating the most serious of the charges.
 
“If someone is charged with a misdemeanor and they come in and plead guilty real fast before an indictment , we can not elevate the charge to a felony,” Chiles explained. “Double jeopardy would kick in.”
 
“I have not received the first phone call from anyone from Marshall University,” Chiles said. “No one affiliated with Marshall University in any way has been contacted by my office nor has anyone affiliated with Marshall in any way has contacted my office ..”
 
Deputy Ferguson added, “That goes the same way with the Sheriff’s department. There was no contact in any way between us or them.”
 
 
Marshall University issued the following on Tuesday, May 5, 2009:
 
Statement from Marshall Football Coach Mark Snyder

Cabell County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Doug Ferguson announced in a Tuesday press conference that a detective’s mistake led to improper charges being filed against Marshall University football players Darius Marshall and DeQuan Bembry last Saturday and that the felony charges will be formally dismissed at a preliminary hearing set for May 11. Fegurson said both will be charged with misdemeanor possession for possessing less than 15 grams of marijuana.
 
“My client is very pleased at this time that the facts are coming to light,” said attorney David D. Perry who is representing Darius Marshall. “We’re not advocating a criminal act, but we do think a proper application of the facts to the law is appropriate.”
 
Marshall University head football coach Mark Snyder released the following statement concerning the matter. “First of all, let me reiterate how disappointed I am in DeQuan and Darius for their poor decision and in no way do I condone their actions. This is a matter we take very seriously and we will continue to allow the legal process to take its course.”
 
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