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Friday, November 30, 2007

Din Thomas "Smoker" Charges Dropped

Seriously, I'm not blowin' smoke up yer ass about the alleged smoker Din was charged for promoting on October 30, 2007.

According to The Palm Beach Post:

"FORT PIERCE — Prosecutors this morning decided not to file charges against a nationally-renowned mixed martial arts fighter who was arrested in October after investigators alleged he organized "illegal cage fighting" matches in a St. Lucie West warehouse."

However, Assistant State Attorney Jeff Hendricks said today the state attorney's office has decided not to file formal charges against Thomas, and filed paperwork dismissing the charge on which he was arrested.

Hendricks said several things factored into the decision, including an exception to the "prohibited competitions" statute for training.

He said if the fighter or participants were students of Thomas' school, and the purpose of the school is to teach martial arts, then they meet the exception to the law.

"He said Thomas' attorney would have likely won a motion to dismiss the case by filing an affidavit stating that all the participants of the match that law enforcement officers observed on Oct. 19 were students of the school where Thomas teaches, American Top Team.

Hendricks also said it was revealed after Thomas' arrest that the school didn't profit from the match because all the money collected was raffled off, and that one of the students present was an emergency medical technician.

Those two points don't affect whether the statute was broken, but Hendricks said "it would have made it difficult to convict beyond a reasonable doubt in this case were this case to even go far."

Final words from Assistant State Attorney Hendricks:

"What is important is that the road patrol officers present had to determine whether they had probable cause to believe the statute was violated, and given the information at the time, they acted appropriately," Hendricks said. "I have a different, higher burden of proof, as well as the hindsight advantage of full knowledge of the facts from both sides, and that is what formed my decision."

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