Casto's lawyer speaks out

PULLMAN -- The local attorney representing Washington State basketball star DeAngelo Casto said his client will be found innocent of alleged misdemeanor marijuana possession, and that the Cougars made the proper decision in lifting Casto's suspension just hours prior to Wednesday night's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal game with Northwestern.

"Whether you're an athlete or anybody else, the way our system is supposed to work is, you're not supposed to be treated as though you're guilty until you're proven innocent," Timothy H. Esser said Wednesday afternoon. "It's supposed to work the other way, isn't it?

"When you're an athlete, facing the enormous penalty of a suspension at a time like, before the charge has ever filed, before it's even been sent to the prosecuting attorney, it just seemed terribly unfair."

Coach Ken Bone announced Tuesday afternoon that Casto, WSU's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, had been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

It was later learned that police allegedly found Casto with a small amount of marijuana early Tuesday morning in the off-campus home where he resides. Esser filed papers with the Whitman County Superior Court, contending that police lacked evidence and conducted an illegal search.

"This charge is never going to get to first base," Esser said. "Mr. Casto is never going to be convicted."

Casto was cited late Tuesday night in a pre-arranged meeting at the Pullman police station. Police said Casto was not cited at his home earlier because the officer did not have a ticket form.

"I mean, you have a minute quantity of marijuana on a living room table in a residence where there are multiple occupants," Esser said.

In a statement released by Washington State, athletic director Bill Moos said "unique circumstances" prompted the Cougars to rescind Casto's suspension and "to allow the legal system to run its course before we consider further action."

Esser said he asked Bone to lift the suspension Tuesday. Asked if he threatened legal action against Bone or WSU, Esser said, "Absolutely not.

"My client and I have nothing but the highest respect for Ken Bone and WSU and its administration."Several WSU athletes have been cited or arrested on marijuana charges in recent months, including basketball players Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore. Those two served one-game suspensions.

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