Solicitor who normally prosecutes drug cases arrested ... for drug possession

Solicitor who normally prosecutes drug cases arrested ... for drug possession

One of the City of Atlanta's top lawyers, Deidre Merriman, was arrested over the weekend when police found two joints in her car during a speeding stop. Photo: Dooly County Sheriff's Office

DOOLY COUNTY, Ga. — Atlanta's senior solicitor who normally prosecutes drug cases is on the other side of the legal system after she was arrested by police on suspicion of drug possession.

Officers pulled over Deidre Merriman in Dooly County Saturday, which is south of Atlanta.

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Merriman was stopped for speeding in Vienna, Georgia, after driving 85 in a 70 mph zone, police said.

According to an arrest report, officers smelled marijuana in the car and asked Merriman how much marijuana she had. She told them none, according to the report.

Officers had her wait by the trunk of her blue Buick while they searched the vehicle. When they opened the glove compartment, officers found a cigarette container with two rolled blunts of marijuana inside it, according to the report.

Merriman was arrested and charged with drug possession and speeding.

“The irony is rich in that she’s charged with something that she would normally prosecute,” legal analyst Esther Panitch said.

"They asked how much marijuana in the car and she said none, and then they found two joints," Panitch said.

Panitch said lying to police could get Merriman in a lot of trouble.

"The state bar regulates lawyers and their behavior, so if someone makes a complaint with the state bar, it could be investigated," Panitch said. "It's interesting to see how this plays out in her ability to still prosecute these crimes that she's charged with."

Merriman has been placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed.