ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Police arrested 22 people at a party for underage drinking despite evidence some of those cited did not consume alcohol, according to Rene Sandler, attorney for the family who apparently hosted the party.
George Magas, his wife Cathy, and sons Nicholas and Eric were arrested in January after a party for one of the sons resulted in a scuffle with police.
On January 4, two MCPD officers approached the Magas’ Damascus home after receiving a tip from a local pizza delivery man about underage drinking at the home.
According to party attendees, Officer Jeremy Smalley and Deputy Sheriff John Durham approached the home without a warrant and began confiscating alcohol without permission and before asking for identification from party guests.
Police say the father, George, began shouting at the officers and Nicholas, a son, attempted to take the beer from Smalley, who then grabbed Nicholas. The resulting incident ended with several members of the Magas family being tased and George and Eric being treated at Shady Grove Hospital.
The police also confiscated the phones of party guests who recorded the incident. In addition to the arrests of the Magas family, 22 party guests were charged with underage drinking. Sandler said several people tested negative for alcohol consumption after being arrested.
“I don’t know why the police acted in the manner in which they did, including taking the phones of those who were in the home,” Sandler said.
Four members of the Magas family – George, Cathy, Nicholas, and Eric – were each charged with 22 counts of giving alcohol to a minor under the age of 21. Eric was charged with three counts of possession of a fake license, possession of more than one driver’s license at a time and fraudulently obtaining a license. George was charged with attempting to remove a firearm from a sheriff, attempting to incite a riot, and three counts of second-degree assault. Cathy was charged with second-degree assault and Nicholas was charged with attempting to incite a riot.
“This case has been very difficult for the family given the false statements that have been made about them in the community. They are people of good character and upstanding members of the community,” Sandler said.
The four-day trial is scheduled for November 17, 2014 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for September 17 and a motions hearing is scheduled for October 9, both in Circuit Court.
Sandler said she won’t comment on specific aspects on the case but says she looks forward to her day in court.
“We’re disappointed that the state was unwilling to resolve the case in a way that would be consistent with both the facts and the law,” Sandler said.
Ramon Korinoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney Office, also declined to comment on specific aspects of the case.
“We are in a trial posture and as such we cannot answer those specific questions you asked as court rules, ethics and the need for a fair trial prevent us from talking outside of the courtroom about specifics in the case,” Korinoff said.