NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Wiz Khalifa (government name: Cameron Thomaz) was arrested and detained Monday night in Greenville, North Carolina after police searched his tour bus. It's been reported that 60 grams of marijuana were found and that nine other people were also arrested.
Police officials from Pitt County confirmed to MTV that Wiz was booked around 1:30 a.m. EST. He posted $300,000 bail and was released from detention at around 8 a.m. EST. Wiz has been charged with a felony count of trafficking in marijuana, a felony count of maintaining a dwelling/vehicle/place for sale or storage of marijuana and one misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
We spoke to attorney, and shareholder of the law firm Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, Stuart P. Slotnick, regarding Wiz' prospects.
What does it mean that he's been charged with a felony?
Stuart P. Slotnick: "Because it’s a felony it means that he could be sentenced to greater than a year in jail. But it’s not a tremendous amount of marijuana, and it may be a felony on the books, but I don’t think that most people think that that is a major serious felony."
What are some of the issues in the case?
Stuart P. Slotnick: "You have to assume that the bus is big enough for people to sleep on. So the question is why did they arrest Wiz Khalifa? Could it have been someone else’s weed?
"They have to somehow prove beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high standard, whose it was. The prosecution here has a high burden from the outset of proving that the confiscated marijuana belonged to Wiz Khalifa. When they arrest nine people they are implying that it was all nine people’s marijuana, that makes it problematic when you go to trial and you want to prove whose it actually was. Is it possible that it was the bus driver’s? Yeah, it’s possible. That makes it difficult to convict someone if you get a fair jury.
"The next issue is was the seizure and the search of the bus lawful? Was it a constitutional search (which is protected under the Fourth Amendment) Did the police conduct a proper search of this bus. If it’s proven that a warrant should have been gotten then the entire case could be dismissed because the evidence that was seized should be suppressed. That’s called 'fruit of the poisonous tree.'"
What's a likely outcome?
Stuart P. Slotnick: "The prosecution may want to offer him a plea deal, acknowledging that there are some issues here. So he may be offered some petty misdemeanor or a plea deal that may be worthwhile for him to just get it over with. On the other hand, if they want to take this to trial than the prosecution is going to have to prove that it was Wiz Khalifa’s."
POUND'S VERDICT: Wiz walks.