Case Dismissed

Madison County District Attorney <B>William C. Bennett Jr.</B> announced Thursday that his office will not pursue Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession charges against UT football players <B>Larry Dibbles</B>, <B>Edorian McCullough</B>, <B>Aaron Harris</B> and <B>Selvin Young</B>.

In the May 16 edition of the Inside Scoop, IT reported that a source close to the situation said the charges were likely to be dismissed, and yesterday's announcement proves that piece prophetic and closes the legal book on the case.

The four then-Longhorn freshmen, traveling in Dibbles' vehicle with the Lancaster DT behind the wheel, were pulled over on May 1 for failing to signal when exiting I-45 in Madison County. A Brazos Valley Narcotics Task Force officer searched the car and discovered a bag containing marijuana in an air vent, leading to the possession charges. The evidence from the traffic stop, though, would have been inadmissible in court due to recent case law.

"In Trahan vs. State, the Beaumont Court determined that it is not a traffic violation for a driver to fail to signal an exit a freeway, thereby rendering any subsequent search of a vehicle that results in finding contraband fruit of an illegal stop," Bennett wrote in a news release. "The officer in this case stopped Dibbles' vehicle as a result of a failure to signal an exit from a freeway."

Dibbles and the other three players disavowed knowledge of the marijuana and a friend of Dibbles, UT student Edbreion Howard, issued a statement claiming that he had recently borrowed and driven the vehicle and that the marijuana found belonged to him. According to the Statesman, Howard later said, "I didn't sign anything," calling into question his earlier statement.

"I attempted to interview (Howard), but he and his family did not want to voluntarily cooperate," Bennett said Thursday. "Had the (Trahan) case not been in existence, I would have pursued it through a grand jury. That was the only way I was going to get to talk to him."

So, questions about the incident remain, but the legal issue is behind the freshmen four. Three of the four are expected back on campus in the fall and are expected to be contributing back-ups. One, according to an IT source, will not be back for reasons separate from the now resolved Madison County issue. For more, see the June 20 edition of the Inside Scoop.

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