Georgia court clears Mike Scott of felony drug charges

Mike Scott played 18 games for the Hawks this past season. (AP)
Mike Scott played 18 games for the Hawks this past season. (AP)

A Georgia superior court has issued a ruling to suppress all evidence and dismiss a felony drug case against former Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Mike Scott.

The decision will likely accelerate Scott’s return to the NBA this summer as prospective teams have been waiting on a conclusion to the pending case.

Banks County (Ga.) Superior Judge Currie Mingledorff II granted Scott’s motion to suppress evidence against the forward and his brother, Antonn Scott, largely based upon testimony and evidence that suggests a pattern of racial profiling by law enforcement in the county.

“In my 35 years of practicing law, this could be the worst case of racial profiling I have ever seen,” Steve Weiner, counsel for Mike Scott, told The Vertical. “Hopefully this will lead to Banks County, Georgia, re-evaluating their policies.”

Mike and Antonn Scott were arrested on July 30, 2015, after a traffic stop along Interstate 85 in Georgia. Police said they found marijuana and the drug MDMA, which is also known as “Molly,” in the car.

The judge’s ruling brought into question the possible racial profiling of the arresting officer and the Banks County Sheriff’s Department’s patrols on I-85 in Georgia.

In an eight-page summation, the judge’s conclusions included that “sufficient articulable suspicion did not exist to uphold the stop of the Scott vehicle,” nor was there “probable” cause to arrest the brothers. The judge’s conclusions in the ruling also found that “the search of the vehicle was not proper,” and the sheriff’s department’s methodology “does trigger the exclusionary rule under the Equal Protection Clause.”

The Hawks traded Scott to the Phoenix Suns as part of a salary cap maneuver in February. The Suns waived Scott, and the looming criminal case became an obstacle for NBA teams that considered signing Scott for the balance of the 2016-17 season. Several teams, including playoff contenders, considered signing Scott after his release by the Suns, but ultimately decided to wait until the conclusion of his court case, league sources said.

Scott, 28, played five seasons with the Hawks, averaging 7.1 points for his career. The pending dismissal of charges will likely open the door for Scott to get a contract and return to the NBA for the 2017-18 season.

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