Bedford County Sheriff speaks out a month after marijuana lawsuit dismissed

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BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ7) The Bedford County Sheriff is speaking out a month after a lawsuit was dismissed.

The lawsuit was filed by the parents of a Bedford County student. The student was suspended for a year after someone found a leaf in his backpack.

The child's parents claimed their son was maliciously prosecuted, and deprived of due process. They originally claimed the school system declined to tell them that the leaf in their son's backpack "did not react" to a marijuana test.

Subsequent lab tests have shown that the leaf was, in fact, marijuana.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision exonerating my deputy and the school officials from the allegations in the suit. I never had any concerns as to the decision that my SRO made, contrary to some in the media and the ‘Rumor Mill of all Rumor Mills…Facebook!” Sheriff Mike Brown stated in a message on the website of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. “However, I was disappointed that after learning of the suit some in the media made a mad rush to judgment. Without hearing both sides of the story the media was quick to condemn Deputy Calohan along with the school officials. This story even appeared in newspapers in the U.K. I am confident that those in the media will give this latest development the same intense coverage as when the incident occurred.”

The summary judgement was issued March 11.

Here is the news release from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office:

Judge Norman Moon, on March 11, 2016, granted summary judgment (Case No. 6:15-cv-00004) in favor of Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer M.M. Calohan, Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Assistant Principal Brian Wilson and Chief Operating Officer F.M. Duis, Jr., both of the Bedford County Public Schools.

Plaintiffs in this suit were R.M.B, an 11 year old boy, his father Robert Bays, a retired school teacher; and his mother, Linda Bays, a school teacher employed by the Bedford County School Board.
Deputy Calohan based her decision to charge R.M.B on her training and experience which ‘shaped’ her knowledge of the visual characteristics and odor of a marijuana leaf. Deputy Calohan’s judgment in this matter was further corroborated when in January 2016 the crumpled leafy material found in the student’s cinch sack was sent to an independent lab. There it tested positive as marijuana. The report with the results of the lab’s testing was placed in and can be found in the court file. The leafy material was also tested by the plaintiff’s attorney and the same results were noted.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision exonerating my deputy and the school officials from the allegations in the suit. I never had any concerns as to the decision that my SRO made, contrary to some in the media and the ‘Rumor Mill of all Rumor Mills…Facebook!” states Sheriff Mike Brown.

The Sheriff added, “However, I was disappointed that after learning of the suit some in the media made a mad rush to judgment. Without hearing both sides of the story the media was quick to condemn Deputy Calohan along with the school officials. This story even appeared in news papers in the U.K. I am confident that those in the media will give this latest development the same intense coverage as when the incident occurred.”