Teachers Get Diversion, Suspended Sentence On Marijuana Charges

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A couple who taught in local schools has been given diversion and a suspended sentence on charges of growing marijuana in the attic of their home.

Robert E. Clark was granted diversion. His wife, Linda S. Clark, was given a suspended sentence.

Attorney Jerry Summers said Robert Clark was "a beloved teacher" who had a number of letters written in his behalf, as did Ms. Clark.

Judge Don Poole said he was impressed by the support for the couple, who have moved out of the area.

Mr. Clark was fired at St. Nicholas School after his arrest. He had been there 18 years as the music teacher.

Ms. Clark was a gifted teacher in the Hamilton County Schools from 1989 until her retirement in 2003.

A presentence report said Ms. Clark suffers from painful arthritis. It did not give a reason why Mr. Clark used marijuana.

Officers said they went to the residence at 2430 Royal Fern Dr. on March 14, 2005, after finding out that the couple had ordered supplies for growing marijuana on the Internet through a "High Times" website.

An officer said the couple acted very nervous and Mr. Clark eventually began crying and led the officers to an elaborate lab in the attic.

Officers found 16 marijuana plants in one area and 17 in another along with a number of lamps, heaters and water pumps.

The couple was charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana for resale, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges against Mr. Clark will be expunged if he gets in no further trouble. Ms. Clark was not eligible for diversion because of a DUI 20 years ago.

They were each fined $3,000 - to be paid each at $100 per month.


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