Prosecution of Oklahoma pipe shop leaves residents perplexed

May 9, 2017

Defendant Stephen Holman walks outside the courtroom as jury selection continues in the Friendly Market trial in Cleveland County District Court on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

From Sean Murphy at the Associated Press:

While other states across the nation are easing penalties for marijuana use or legalizing the drug altogether, Norman police and its Republican district attorney are taking the opposite tack: pursuing criminal charges against the now-shuttered Friendly Market shop owner Robert Cox and several of his clerks for selling glass pipes in a local store.

But the latest target of police and prosecutors is fighting back.

Cox and three of his former clerks, including a popular city councilman, have refused plea deals as a third jury trial began this week on charges that carry prison time. They also have the help of a national individual liberty group that says law enforcement should quit wasting taxpayers’ time and money.

“This goes to … the power of the government to come in and take your things, and you’re just supposed to take it,” said Wagner, who said Cox refused an offer by prosecutors to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and allow authorities to keep his seized cash and merchandise. “You can’t fight back because you don’t have the money to fight back.”

Wagner said the defense costs are being paid by DKT Liberty Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit committed to privacy protections and “guarding against government overreaching.”

You can read the full article here.