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Oklahoma Supreme Court rules in favor of Friendly Market

Friendly Market at 1100 East Constitution is seen on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Friendly Market at 1100 East Constitution is seen on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Norman business that has been fighting for the return of hundreds of glass pipes police seized from the store. 

A copy of the ruling was not immediately available late Monday, but online court records show the decision was unanimous. 

Robert Cox, owner of The Friendly Market, has been trying to get police to return hundreds of glass pipes and other store inventory valued at $15,000 seized during two raids in 2015.

The store was forced to close after the raids.

Cox has said he hopes to eventually resume sales and reopen the business.

A Cleveland County jury acquitted Cox on drug-related charges in connection with his ownership of The Friendly Market earlier this year. The store sold glass pipes, as well as home decor and local art.

Cleveland County Special Judge Steve Stice ruled in July that items Norman police seized should be returned to Cox. The judge made no finding as to whether the items are drug paraphernalia.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn's office asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to order Stice to rule on whether the pipes are legal.

In court documents, Mashburn argued lack of a court decision on whether the pipes are drug paraphernalia puts Norman police in a "precarious position of aiding and abetting a crime" if the items are returned to Cox.

Stice's ruling will also "affect the release of hundreds of items of drug paraphernalia back into the community," the DA wrote.

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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