Iowa State Basketball Star Bryce Dejean-Jones Charged with Drug House Violation

According to multiple media outlets, KCCI, Des Moines Register & WHO, Iowa State Basketball star Bryce Dejean-Jones was charged early Thursday December 11, 2014 by Ames, Iowa police with a drug charge.  It is also being reported by these medial outlets that the charge has now been dismissed based on a lack of probable cause in the criminal complaint.  I checked Iowa Courts Online to determine the precise charge and am unable to find the case.  This is unsurprising given the charges were brought early this morning.

Apparently, Ames Police received a noise complaint late last night and responded to Mr. Dejean-Jones apartment.  When they knocked and the door was opened, police allegedly smelled the odor of burnt marijuana.  This caused police to obtain a search warrant for the premises.  Upon searching, Ames Police found Mr. Dejean-Jones and several other people as well as a small amount of burned marijuana.  They then arrested Mr. Dejean-Jones (the status of the other occupants is unknown) and charged him with a drug charge as well as nuisance and noise violations.

I believe there are probably two potential Iowa Code violations with which Mr. Dejean-Jones could have been charged.  The first is a “Prohibited Acts” charge in violation of Iowa Code Section 124.402(1)(e):

1. It is unlawful for any person:

e. Knowingly to keep or permit the keeping or to maintain any premises, store shop, warehouse, dwelling, temporary, or permanent building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other temporary or permanent structure or place, which is resorted to by persons using controlled substances in violation of this chapter for the purpose of using these substances, or which is used for keeping, possessing or selling them in violation of this chapter.

The second charge is a “Gatherings” charge which is a violation of Iowa Code Section 124.407:

It is unlawful for any person to sponsor, promote, or aid, or assist in the sponsoring or promoting of a meeting, gathering, or assemblage with the knowledge or intent that a controlled substance be there distributed, used or possessed, in violation of this chapter.

Any person who violates this section and where the controlled substances is any one other than marijuana is guilty of a class “D” felony.

Any person who violates this section, and where the controlled substance is marijuana only, is guilty of a serious misdemeanor.

The media has been reporting all along that this is a serious misdemeanor so I am guessing Ames police charged Dejean-Jones with the “Gatherings” charge because the “Prohibited Acts” drug charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.  That being the case, it is also wholly unsurprising that the charge was dropped for lack of probable cause.  In the complaint Ames Police filed, there had to have been some evidence that Mr. Dejean-Jones actually sponsored, promoted or assisted in the sponsoring or promotion of a gathering knowing or intending that controlled substances were going to be distributed, used or possessed at that gathering.  In layman’s terms, there had to be some evidence that he gathered a group of people to use drugs.  That a group of people were together and drugs were used is not sufficient basis on which to establish probable cause for this charge.  There must have been some evidence of an act on the part of Mr. Dejean-Jones to gather the people in the apartment knowing drug were going to be used or intending drugs were going to be used.

One might also question why he would not have been charged with possession of marijuana if it was found in his apartment.  I am speculating, but I would guess it was all found in a common area of the apartment which multiple people had access to.  If that is the case, it would be very difficult to prove to whom the marijuana belonged.  This is often why the police opt for charges like the “Prohibited Acts” or “Gatherings” charge when they do not believe they can prove a  possession offense.

Even with the charge dismissed, however, Coach Hoiberg still has a conundrum on his hands.  One of his star players, at the very least, permitted someone to smoke marijuana in his apartment.  There is a news conference scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. so we will see what Coach Hoiberg decides to do.