Now, yes: It was kinda stupid for Michael Phelps to allow himself to be photographed horkin’ on a giant bong at some stupid beer pong party a person of his social standing shouldn’t have been caught dead at. But is there anything even remotely legal or constitutional about the Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office’s subsequent quest to go out and round up everyone who was even near that party, weeks after the fact, in an effort to bring up Phelps on weed charges? WTF?
J. CONOR CORCORAN, ESQ. RESPONDS: Yet another reason to avoid South Carolina. This is the state that passed a law requiring doctors to force pregnant mothers to look at a photo of their fetus before having an abortion.
But as to the matter at hand: There is NOTHING to proactively stop a prosecution, save for political influence. Allow me to explain: There’s no oversight for the police department or a district attorney to begin a criminal prosecution like this. They just file it with the court. Now, geographical assumptions about intelligence aside, its clearly obvious that they are looking into filing charges against Phelps. So it is legal, then? At that point, yes.
However, assuming that Phelps will retain an attorney of minimal competence, this case should be thrown out, or Phelps should be found not guilty. And then he should file a malicious prosecution suit against the DA. It’s just a photo of Phelps with a pipe of suspicious provenance. Unfortunately for the DA, that’s not enough. Everytime I go to a Philebrity party, and have to pry a bong pipe from the quivering, desparate hands of some attendant of a certain age clothed in their thrift store haberdashery to remind them of their Christian obligations of sobriety and full time employment – if a cop came walkin’ in and saw me with just a pipe, that’s not enough. They have to produce evidence that marijuana was verifiably in the pipe and my lips were wrapped around it like so many bottles of Chateau Shit My Pants. Which is what I would do if a cop walked in to a Philebrity party.
For the record, the only drugs I consume at a Philebrity party are the chilled contents of Fishtown Briefcase, piled in organized fashion, in your fridge. And the occasional box of wine. The whole box. Which is extra delicious with some port wine cheese, when we run out of crackers.
So there you have it, folks: Phelps is gonna be fine. Just fiiiiine. Read more Ask The Lawyer here.