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The lawyer for one of two college students arrested for manufacturing DMT, G. Allen Dale, points out that the accused aren’t “thugs.” He tells City Desk: “We’ve got some very young kids from good families, who’ve done some good things.” (Which, clearly, means they shouldn’t be treated the way most other accused drug dealers in D.C. are.) Dale points out, for instance, that his client, John Perrone, is an honor student who has worked at a homeless shelter, and has participated in a walk against hunger for the last ten years. So, he explains, “Our first step is to get them out.”
Later today, at a detention hearing, Dale will try to do just that. He’ll argue that his client, denied bail at an earlier hearing, should be released. “Get him home,” Dale says. “Let him get his head straight.” Pointing out Perrone’s youth and small size, he calls his current incarceration a “criminal hell.”
Dale is pretty confident Perrone will be released following the hearing. As for what he’ll do on his client’s behalf afterward, that hasn’t been decided yet. “We’re not certain that a crime has been committed,” Dale says. Media reports say cops searched the Georgetown University dorm room where his clients were found because they suspected synthetic marijuana was being sold there. Dale says that might be significant, if the reports are true: “How do you have probable cause to search the room if it wasn’t an illegal substance?”
D.C. attorney David Schertler will represent Perrone’s co-defendant, Georgetown University freshman Charles Smith. Schertler also believes the arrested aren’t exactly hardened criminals: “They’re just terrific kids.” Schertler says he’ll be handling his client’s defense “one step at a time.” As for the probable cause issue, Schertler says he needs more information about what happened before he can speculate.
Whatever happens going forward, the “good families” Smith and Perrone come from are playing hardball. Both Dale and Schertler are big guns. Schertler, for one, is used to pulling off the impossible. You might remember him from a certain high-profile murder case.
UPDATE: The students have been released under the condition that they live with their parents in Massachusetts, submit to electronic monitoring, and keep an 8 p.m. curfew. They’ll need to report to U.S. Pretrial Services in Boston, and surrender their passports.