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Oklahoma Vice: Friendly Market trials expected to last a week or longer each

Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case.
Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case.

Criminal trials for  Norman City Councilman Stephen Tyler Holman and former Friendly Market owner Robert Cox are expected to last at least a week each, or longer, in Cleveland County District Court. 

Holman, 32, faces a felony charge of acquiring proceeds from drug activity, as well as 12 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges stem from two police raids in 2015 of the now-closed shop, The Friendly Market, 1100 E Constitution.

Investigators seized cash and store merchandise including glass pipes and rolling papers in the raids, but no drugs. Holman's trial currently set for May 1 through May 5. No date appears to have been set yet in Cox's trial. 

If Holman's case goes to trial, the city councilman's defense is prepared to present a number of witnesses. They include Emanuel Doshie, billed as an expert witness in "glass work and glass art," and Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., according to court documents. Brounstein is an expert in "different types of herbs, including smoking herbs," records state.

At a recent court hearing, Special District Judge Steve Stice denied the defense's request to use one of the pipes police confiscated from the Friendly Market in a videotaped demonstration of how it could be used to smoke different kinds of herbs. 

The civil liberties group DKT Liberty Project is paying for the men's defense. 

Two store clerks, Max Walters and Cody Franklin were also charged in connection with the friendly Friendly Market case. Walter's first trial in Cleveland County District Court ended in a hung jury, and Franklin was tried in January of 2017 resulting in an acquittal. Both misdemeanor trials lasted an "unprecedented three days at an unknown, but presumably substantial cost to taxpayers," DKT Liberty Project said. 

rs.  

Related Photos
Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case.

Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a3c9c8c024ffb5f4432a2a0d46730381.jpg" alt="Photo - Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case." title="Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case."><figcaption>Howie Brounstein, director of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Ore., expert witness in Friendly Market case.</figcaption></figure>
Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›

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