Freshman Ohio State tailback Bri'Onte Dunn caught a major break on Tuesday when it was determined that he would not be facing charges for the marijuana and paraphernalia found in his car on a traffic stop over the weekend. Dunn had been initially cited on four total charges, including two drug charges, after the traffic stop.
According to the Canton Repository, Dunn's story checked out well enough that the city's Law Director has decided not to bother with the drug charges—at least, not against Dunn himself:
Alliance City Law Director Andrew Zumbar has authorized the filing of disorderly conduct and a seat belt violation charges against Ohio State freshman running back Bri’onte Dunn and his passenger. He will not face drug charges.
Dunn was stopped late Saturday night in Alliance driving a 2001 Dodge Stratus that is registered to his mother, Donna Hatcher. Police found a minute amount of marijuana in the car as well as a marijuana pipe.
“Based upon the content of all the evidence reviewed, I made the decision to authorize the minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct instead of the drug possession because throughout the entire (traffic) stop Bri’onte Dunn is consistent and denies the paraphernalia and the small amount marijuana are his,” Zumbar said. “The paraphernalia was not found on him.”
So let's get this straight: they're going to get Dunn on the taillight violation on someone else's car, which is fine, but they're also going to try to stick him with disorderly conduct? Let's read on about Zumbar's analysis of Dunn's actual conduct during the ordeal:
“His statement is consistent that he denies possession of the objects,” Zumbar said. “He was polite during the entire stop. Otherwise his demeanor was unremarkable in terms of his conduct.”
Yeah, we're pretty sure that one's not about to stick either. There's just the tiniest bit of difference between "disorderly" and "polite and otherwise unremarkable," no?
So given what's in front of us here, clearly, Dunn doesn't deserve much in the way of discipline. He should have known a little better than to go driving at night with a burnt-out tail light regardless of whether he thought there was anything illicit in the car, but on the other hand, he's still a kid; this is how and when you learn things like that.
It still might make sense to redshirt Dunn, by the way. He's still a similar running back to guys like Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith, who also have the added benefit of extra collegiate experience (and collegiate strength and conditioning).
But at the very least, the question of whether Dunn sees the field in 2012 or not should be a question of his merit as a tailback and nothing else, and that's a much better situation to be in than how things looked even 24 hours ago.