Some of the drug charges that rocked the University of Washington at
SEATTLE (AP) _ Some of the drug charges that rocked the University of Washington athletic program in 1993, but later dismissed, have been revived by the state Court of Appeals.
In a unanimous ruling Monday, a three-judge panel largely rejected a bid by prosecutors to reinstate charges against eight people.
But the decision reversed the dismissal of four charges against former Washington linebacker Danianke Smith and two against Robert Johnson, a fifth-year student at the time. Also facing the possibility of renewed charges are Alexandra Sandoval, accused of supplying Smith with cocaine, and Robert Fred Johnson, a graduate student at the time.
The ruling upheld the dismissal of charges against former basketball forward Douglas Meekins, former football player James Goodwin, former hurdler Bernard Ellison and Smith’s girlfriend, Daphne Pie.
King County Superior Court Judge Joan E. DuBuque had dismissed all counts against four defendants in 1993. Judge Norma Huggins, presiding over cases against the remaining defendants, concurred.
The ruling sends back back to DuBuque four counts of cocaine delivery against Smith and remands to Huggins two counts against Johnson _ cocaine possession and conpiracy to deliver cocaine. Smith originally faced six counts and Johnson three.
At issue was prosecutors’ failure to notify defense attorneys in a timely fashion of facts that could be used to challenge the credibility of the state’s key witness, Samuel Nemours, also a student at the time.
The information included Nemours’ belief that drug dealing at the university was involved in the disappearance of a friend in California and his harassment conviction in a case involving a 14-year-old girl.
The appeals decision upheld the dismissal of charges based on dealings with Nemours alone but revived charges based on transactions in which he was not involved.
``They’re not necessarily reinstating the counts,″ said Jenny Durkan, a lawyer for Smith. ``What they’re saying is the court dismissed them without determining whether there was prejudice.″
The ruling cited ``at least four ways his credibility is still important to the remaining counts,″ so a trial judge could still decide Nemours had tainted them, as well, Durkan said.
In the case before DuBuque, the information was disclosed less than a month before trial. In the case before Huggins, it was disclosed the day before trial and the day trial began, said David Gehrke, Johnson’s attorney.
The state portrayed Nemours ``as a good student who became involved in the investigation because he was tired of seeing athletes deal drugs on campus,″ appeals judge Susan Agid wrote.
``In reality, he fell short of this billing. The state knew this″ and either tried to gloss over his shortcomings or failed to understand their significance, she wrote.
``Either way, the state’s handling of information that cast serious doubt on the reliability, stability and credibility of its key informant was unacceptable,″ the decision said.
The appellate judges agreed with DuBuque ``that it is extremely disturbing that much of this information came to light through the efforts of the defense attorney of the only defendant (Smith) ... able to retain private counsel.″
``We’re not happy with the way things turned out in this case,″ deputy prosecutor Dan Satterberg said.