ELYRIA — A North Ridgeville man who was growing marijuana in his basement has been placed in a court-run diversion program over the objections of prosecutors.
Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge James Burge allowed 36-year-old Matthew Briggs to plead to illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia charges during a hearing Friday. If Briggs successfully completes one year of probation, the charges against him will be dropped.
North Ridgeville police discovered marijuana plants, pipes and marijuana inside the house Briggs and his wife, Shannon Briggs, share after a neighbor called to report their front door was open.
After discovering the drugs, police obtained a search warrant to fully search the house.
Shannon Briggs pleaded no contest in Elyria Municipal Court to charges or disorderly conduct persisting and possession of drug paraphernalia and was fined $500 and given a suspended jail sentence. She also resigned from her position as a special education teacher with Medina Schools.
Paul St. Marie, the Briggses’ attorney, said he thought diversion was appropriate for Matthew Briggs, who was growing the marijuana for his personal use.
“I think Matthew and his wife have suffered tremendously, personally, socially and, unfortunately, economically,” he said.
Shannon Briggs’ teaching license was suspended for two years and Matthew Briggs is fighting an effort to suspend his insurance license, St. Marie said.