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

ATLANTA — A solicitor who normally prosecutes drug cases is on the other side of the legal system after being arrested by police on suspicion of drug possession.

Officers pulled over Deidre Merriman, Atlanta's senior solicitor, in Dooly County Saturday, south of Atlanta. Channel 2's Dave Huddleston broke the story on Twitter.

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

According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana in the car. Officers asked the woman how much marijuana she had, and she told them none, according to the report.

Officers had her wait by the trunk of her blue Buick while they searched. 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,” Channel 2 legal analyst Esther Panitch said.

Huddleston showed the police report to Panitch. She said one thing really stood out to her.

"They asked how much marijuana was 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."

Channel 2 Action News learned Merriman has been placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed.

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