June 29, 2016

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Attorney: Police unlawfully searched home for marijuana

ELYRIA — The lawyer for a North Ridgeville man, whose wife lost her job as a Medina city school teacher after police reported finding marijuana growing in their home, has asked a county judge to throw out the evidence gathered by police.

Police said they entered the home Aug. 31 after a neighbor called and said the front door was open of the home of Matthew Briggs, 35, and his wife, Shannon Briggs, 34, a former special education teacher at A.I. Root Middle School.

Shannon Briggs

Attorney Paul St. Marie argued in a motion filed last week in Lorain County Common Pleas Court that police didn’t have a valid reason to go inside.

St. Marie said police went to the house and called inside several times and, after receiving no answer, officers entered the house.

They found marijuana plants, pipes and marijuana inside the house and then obtained a search warrant.

But St. Marie wrote that there are only a few circumstances under which police can enter a house without a warrant and that standard wasn’t met in this case.

For instance, he wrote that there was no evidence that anyone was in immediate peril when police went inside.

Matthew Briggs has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal cultivation of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

His wife was convicted Jan. 8 after pleading no contest in Elyria Municipal Court to charges of disorderly conduct persisting and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was fined $500, given a suspended jail sentence, ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment and placed on probation for a year.

She had submitted her resignation to Medina City Schools in October, shortly after the charges were filed. She had been placed on paid leave.

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