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Good behavior could set aside charges against star athlete

April 22, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A Washington County judge agreed to set aside drug charges against Domonique Richmond as long as he doesn't commit any crimes within the next year, but school officials still won't allow the three-sport star athlete on the playing field.

Washington County District Court Judge Ralph France placed possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia charges against Richmond on the inactive docket during a hearing April 10, said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Mark K. Boyer.

The Washington County Public Schools system has a zero tolerance policy regarding drugs. Its decisions about students don't always mirror what happens in the court system, Director of Secondary Education Boyd Michael said Friday.

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Charging documents allege that Richmond, 18, of 9938 Kurtkya Circle, bought marijuana from another South High student and the drug was found on school property on March 4.

A man who identified himself as Richmond's father said on the phone Friday the family has no comment.

Since his arrest, the former South Hagerstown High School student enrolled in the Evening High School, Michael said.

Richmond was prohibited from playing sports, causing him to miss a state final championship basketball game which South High lost to Pocomoke High School.

Richmond was the basketball team's top scorer and one of the leaders in the Tri-State area, averaging 22.4 points per game.

Michael said Richmond will be unable to compete in track this year since the Evening High School has no track and field program.

Richmond is a two-time Class 1A state track champion, having won the 800-meter run as a freshman and the 400-meter run in his junior year.

He was the South High football team's quarterback and signed a letter of intent last fall to play football at the University of Maryland on a full athletic scholarship.

University of Maryland spokesman Dave Haglund did not return a telephone message.

Richmond didn't receive special treatment in the court system because of his athletic abilities, Boyer said. The prosecutor asked that the charges be made inactive because Richmond doesn't have any prior convictions, he said.

That recommendation is typical for first-time youth offenders who have "slipped up" but still can be reformed, he said.

Often such offenders "realize they're not a kid anymore," and understand the consequences of their actions after appearing in court, he said.

Richmond was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and complete an addictions education program, Boyer said.

Police allege in charging documents that Richmond took two lighters and a self-made pipe from his front pants pocket while at school.

As he did this he turned away slightly and Assistant Principal Paul Bisher heard something hit the floor, charging documents said.

Bisher saw a small plastic bag containing what appeared to be marijuana, charging documents alleged. The substance field-tested positive for marijuana.

The student police allege sold the marijuana to Richmond is a 17-year-old junior at South High. He was charged with possession of drugs-marijuana and distribution of drugs-marijuana. He was released to his parents and is scheduled to appear in juvenile court May 1.

The student was a member of last year's school baseball team.

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