CHARLESTON — After a challenge to the legality of a search during a traffic stop, drug charges against a man in connection with the incident were dismissed.
The case's prosecutor wouldn't confirm the reason for seeking dismissal of charges against Robert W. Brown, but Brown's attorney referred to the search issue as what led to the development.
Brown, 38, of Chicago, and another man were arrested for heroin possession after a traffic stop for failing to signal before turning in Charleston on Dec. 28, 2017.
According to case records, Brown was driving the car but declined a police officer's request to search him and the vehicle.
The passenger, Matthew J. Grissom, agreed to be searched and heroin was found in his possession, the records say.
Grissom, 30, of Charleston, later pleaded guilty to the drug possession charge that resulted.
After the search of Grissom, the case records say, the officer tried to handcuff Brown to keep him at the scene, but Brown fled.
The officer saw Brown discard an object, later identified as a small package of heroin, while he was being pursued, the records say.
In Brown's case, defense attorney Kevin Peters filed a motion to suppress evidence, which claimed the evidence as obtained illegally and shouldn't be used.
The motion stated the police officer didn't have sufficient reason to suspect drugs were in the vehicle and request the search.
The motion never made it to a hearing, as prosecutor Ralph Fowler made a motion to dismiss the charges during Brown's next court appearance. Coles County Circuit Judge James Glenn granted the motion.
When contacted, Fowler declined to comment on his reason for having the case dismissed.
Peters, when he was asked to comment, noted the motion to suppress and said he thought it would have been granted. That would have excluded the evidence and left the prosecution with nothing to use to proceed with the case, he said.
The charges against Brown included possession with intent to deliver, which would have required a prison sentence of six to 30 years had he been convicted.
Grissom was charged with possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to two years of probation when he pleaded guilty in May of last year.