"Idol" Finalist Dodged Cocaine, Pot Raps

Bo Bice completed drug diversion program after two Alabama busts

Bo Bice

View Document

"Idol" Finalist Dodged Cocaine, Pot Raps

APRIL 28--One of the five remaining "American Idol" finalists was once arrested for felony cocaine possession, but had the charge--and a separate marijuana count--dismissed last year after completing a so-called "diversion program," The Smoking Gun has learned.

Harold "Bo" Bice, 29, was busted in June 2001 by Huntsville, Alabama cops and hit with the drug count, a Class C felony, according to a warrant. He was arrested again in July 2003 near Birmingham and charged with marijuana possession, public intoxication, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty to the latter two misdemeanors in December 2004. The pot charge was dismissed after Bice's successful completion of the same diversion program that covered his prior cocaine bust.

In that 2001 drug case, a District Court preliminary hearing was set for August 29, but when a Huntsville Police Department investigator did not show, Judge Susan Moquin dismissed the Bice case, according to a court docket. But with prosecutors prepared to refile the felony count, Bice later opted to enter a drug diversion program overseen by the district attorney's office, according to Heather Douglas, spokesperson for the Madison County D.A..

Bice formally entered the diversion program in 2003 following his pot arrest, and the two separate drug possession charges were effectively merged and covered by Bice's diversion program, according to a TSG source familiar with the cases (the cocaine charge was bounced on April 28, 2004, and the pot rap was dismissed five months ago).

Bice was arrested on the cocaine charge after scoring about 1/2 a gram of the drug from an acquaintance at Huntsville's Silver Dollar strip club, according to a source. If convicted of the felony coke charge, Bice would have faced a maximum of 10 years in jail, though a probationary term would have been more likely.

While details of what Bice had to do in the diversion program are confidential, enrollees usually must submit to urine tests, undergo drug counseling, and attend awareness classes.

Bice, who worked at the time in a Huntsville bar, is a long-haired rocker whose gritty appearance and performances have stood out from "American Idol"'ss usual pop pablum. On Fox Television's "Idol" web site, Bice reports that his "most embarrassing moment" was when he once "fell off stage during a show." (6 pages)