Drug charges dropped

October 23, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

County prosecutors have dropped drug charges against a man arrested during a police raid, an arrest that was ruled illegal last week by a Howard Circuit Court judge.

Gregory Pernel Williams, 25, of Baltimore could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison if he had been convicted of the charges filed after his arrest at the Abbott House apartment building in Columbia on April 15.

Friday, prosecutors dropped charges of possession of cocaine, possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, and possession of drugs near a school.

"I think it's the correct resolution to a case that was painful to the police," said Clarke Ahlers, a Columbia attorney representing Mr. Williams.

Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. issued a ruling Thursday that prevented the prosecution from using much of the evidence against Mr. Williams if the case had gone to trial.

The judge said in the ruling that to arrest Mr. Williams, who was not the original target of the raid, police needed more justification than merely a "suspicious look in his eye."

Three other men -- the alleged targets of the raid -- were arrested with Mr. Williams. The ruling in the Williams case will not affect their cases, which are still pending.

Saying Mr. Williams' arrest was illegal, Judge Sybert prevented prosecutors from using statements he gave to police after his arrest.

The judge also prohibited most of the police officers involved in the arrest from testifying that they saw Mr. Williams in a window of Abbott House as they were about to raid the building. The officers violated a court order not to discuss the case among themselves and not to view Mr. Williams' picture before pretrial hearings began, the judge said.

The prosecution would have been permitted to introduce a bag of cocaine that police said belonged to Mr. Williams, although his fingerprints were not on the bag.

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