Triailblazers' guard faces drug charges

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A judge will decide the constitutionality of an airport search that resulted in marijuana possession charges against basketball player Damon Stoudamire.

Pima County Justice Court Judge Paul Simon took the matter under
advisement Tuesday after hearing arguments from prosecutors and
attorneys representing the Portland Trail Blazers guard.

Attorneys Steve Houze and Michael Piccarreta challenged the
legality of the search, contending that officers did not read
Stoudamire his rights before questioning him and that there was no
warrant when authorities opened a tinfoil package containing
marijuana. They want the judge to suppress the evidence, which
likely would lead to dismissal of charges.

But assistant county attorney Elizabeth Hurley told the judge no
warrant was necessary because the search occurred in an airport.
Stoudamire was stopped July 3 at Tucson International Airport as he
was about to board a flight to New Orleans after setting off a
metal detector.

Authorities contend that Stoudamire had rolling papers in his
possession as well as about a half-ounce of marijuana.

Stoudamire, who was in Tucson attending summer school at the
University of Arizona, which he left in 1995 without graduating,
was charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and
possession of drug paraphernalia. He pleaded not guilty.

A county attorney's official has said Stoudamire could receive
unsupervised probation and up to a $2,500 fine if convicted, but
that similar charges usually bring a fine of about $200.

On Oct. 1, the Trail Blazers reinstated Stoudamire after he had
served nearly a three-month suspension related to his arrest.

Stoudamire said he would donate $100,000 to an early childhood
program in the Portland area and the team said he would not have to
pay a $250,000 fine. Stoudamire also said recently that he had
entered a drug treatment program voluntarily and had been clean for
90 days.