The Princeton municipal prosecutor has dismissed all charges against Marc Brodherson '00, the student arrested after police searched his room to find the cause of his roommate's collapse.
After almost three months of investigation, the charges against Brodherson were dismissed late last month at the direction of the Mercer County prosecutor's office, according to municipal court official Susan Shapiro.
Brodherson was arrested last September and charged with several counts of drug possession following a search of his room after his roommate, Andrew Frisbie '00, collapsed outside Brown Hall. The charges were downgraded later by the Mercer County prosecutor's office and the case was slated to be handled in Princeton Municipal Court.
"I'm thrilled with the results. Like I said, the truth will prevail, and it did here," Brodherson said. "Unfortunately, certain things have happened that are somewhat irrevocable, given the bad publicity."
Municipal prosecutor Marc Citron said the county prosecutor directed him to dismiss the charges against Brodherson after Frisbie pleaded guilty to his own drug charges that also stemmed from the room search.
Frisbie has entered a pretrial intervention program to avoid a formal court hearing. He also has voluntarily withdrawn from the University, according to the Registrar.
Brodherson's lawyer, Jerome Ballarotto, said the prosecutor's decision to withdraw the charges was "very rational" and was supported by Borough Police.
"I filed the motion to suppress the search. [Officials in the Mercer County Prosecutor's office] looked at the case a little more closely. They had an opportunity to understand Marc's defense and his explanation of what happened and why he possessed those things," Ballarotto said, referring to the drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession charges against Brodherson.
Ballarotto said he believes the search of his room following Frisbie's collapse was illegal.
"I don't believe they had the authority to search the room the way they searched the room under the circumstances," he said. "They didn't have a warrant."
According to Ballarotto, Brodherson's apparent possession of the drugs was inadvertent.
"The Ritalin was not his. The pipe was a very odd pipe that he brought back from a trip to Eastern Europe. A souvenir. It was never intended to be used as a dope pipe," he said. "And the mushrooms – he had no idea they were there. He had no idea they were in that drawer. No idea."
"I truly believe that at the time all this happened, I think everybody – Marc, EMS, and the police – did what they thought was the right and best thing to do for everybody involved. They tried to save [his roommate's] life," Ballarotto said.
Brodherson said while he is pleased with the results, he remains concerned about Frisbie's tenuous health. "Any vindication I feel is tempered by the sadness I feel over what's happened with my roommate," he said.