San Diego couple were acquitted by a jury after enduring a questionable paramilitary-style raid on their property
A federal lawsuit was filed earlier this month on behalf of two seriously ill medical marijuana patients, Deborah Little, 61, and Dennis Little, 66, a couple from Ramona, California whose home was raided in October 2012 by the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force (NTF).
The paramilitary-style raid, including police brandishing assault rifles, found a modest garden of 29 plants, which the Littles say was entirely for personal, medicinal use. The couple was tried in March 2014 on possession of marijuana for sale and unlawful cultivation of marijuana, but the court dismissed the cultivation charge and they were acquitted of possession by a jury.
"This case is an example of a phenomenon that has gained national attention recently: military-style SWAT tactics used in everyday law enforcement," said Nathan Shaman, the attorney representing the Littles in their civil lawsuit. "More and more we are seeing law enforcement treat our citizens as enemy combatants."
"The Littles' situation provides a stark reminder that even harmless, law-abiding, seriously ill people can be and are terrorized by their own police force," Shaman said. "We hope this will send a message to law enforcement that their egregious, unconstitutional behavior will not be tolerated."
By Steve Elliott
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Monday took on the federal government and its crackdown on medical marijuana. Filner held a press conference in support of medical marijuana patient Ronnie Chang, who was operating state-licensed dispensaries, calling for jury nullification in the case.
Chang's supporters say he was wrongfully arrested and persecuted in federal raids back in 2009, reports Sharon Chen at Fox 5 San Diego.
"Ronnie Chang has been in custody for about five months," said Terrie Best of San Diego Americans for Safe Access. "He has a very infirm mother he had been supporting and taking care of."
Chang's attorney, Michael McCabe, on Monday appeared before a federal magistrate judge to argue a temporary gag order against him be lifted. McCabe was criticized by supporters of the federal crackdown for appearing in a video blasting U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who has overseen the crackdown in Southern California.
The persecution of Chang is bias-driven and vindictive, according to McCabe.
Prosecutors wanted all material regarding the case removed from the internet and social networks, which makes one wonder why they are afraid of the truth. A federal judge wouldn't enforce the gag order, but instead McCabe agreed not to "try the case in front of the press."
The prosecutors came to their senses, backing down from their ridiculous request to remove information from the internet.