In response to the news that the owner and the manager of The Friendly Market, Robert Cox and Stephen Tyler Holman, have been acquitted of all charges regarding the sale of legal glass pipes out of their Norman, OK shop, The ACLU of Oklahoma has issued the following statement.
The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
“It is unconscionable that the Cleveland County District Attorney would spend a single penny of taxpayer resources on such a monumental waste of time as to prosecute a business owner and manager who never broke any law. The people of Oklahoma ostensibly elect their district attorneys with the expectation they will prosecute those who pose a legitimate threat to the well being and safety of their communities. It is clear that some prosecutors simply do not understand this concept.
We applaud the Oklahoma citizens who, by handing down a not guilty verdict, have allowed reason and common sense to prevail. It speaks volumes that the Norman Police Department and the local district attorney spent over two years manufacturing their case, only to have a unanimous jury reach a not guilty verdict in a matter of hours.
In response to this ridiculous waste of time, resources, and funds, the ACLU of Oklahoma made today an Open Records Request to determine how much public money was spent on this misguided prosecution. If Greg Mashburn wants to produce a remake of Reefer Madness, he should pay for it himself.
We are immensely grateful that Councilman Holman and his co-defendant Robert Cox had the wherewithal to see this case through to to a jury trial. It must be said that while justice was served here, it came at enormous expense to the accused. In most instances the emotional and financial burden of charges like these would work to extract a guilty plea well before a jury could ever hear from the defense. So while we celebrate this victory, we must be mindful that the war on drugs continues to hold a firm grasp on the throats of those who happen to be caught in its path. To that end, the ACLU of Oklahoma reaffirms our commitment to reforming this dangerous and self-defeating system so that we can build stronger and safer communities.”