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The formal filing of a marijuana possession charge against

March 13, 1985

ATLANTA (AP) _ The formal filing of a marijuana possession charge against Atlanta Braves right fielder Claudell Washington will not affect his status with the team, club vice president Al Thornwell said Wednesday.

″Our position is still the same. Unless we’re directed by the commissioner to not work him out or not play him, we plan to continue to use him in the same way we have since he arrived″ at training camp, Thornwell said by telephone from the team’s camp at West Palm Beach, Fla.

The misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana was filed Monday in Municipal Court at Walnut Creek, Calif. It is punishable by a court fine of up to $100.

Walnut Creek police said an officer spotted five-hundredths of a gram of marijuana in Washington’s car after stopping the vehicle Feb. 18.

Under rules governing major league baseball, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth could suspend Washington for a year without pay if he is convicted of possession of illegal drugs.

Thornwell said the team has not heard from Ueberroth since the formal charge was filed.

″We’ve talked ... with the commissioner’s office in the past, but not since the events (Monday),″ he said. ″Unless and until we do, we’re just going to keep on keeping on.″

Asked if Washington has been bothered by the charge, he said, ″I haven’t talked to him. He’s a man of few words ... It doesn’t appear to be (bothering him).″

California police also reported finding 0.25 gram of cocaine in Washington’s car. But the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office decided against filing a cocaine possession charge, saying there was insufficient evidence to show Washington ″knowingly possessed″ the cocaine.

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