A Ramona couple whose home was raided by agents with guns drawn has filed a lawsuit against San Diego law enforcement, alleging their rights as medical marijuana patients were violated.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court is the latest example of the ongoing debate over the rights of medical marijuana patients in California – how their treatment is regulated and how, according to their attorney, these type of cases are perceived by law enforcement.
The home of Deborah and Dennis Little, both seriously ill and qualified medicinal marijuana patients under California law, was raided in October 2012 by narcotics agents.
Agents claimed they seized hundreds of pounds of useable marijuana, while the Littles disputed that claim saying they had 29 plants. They also denied allegations that they had planned to sell the drug.
Deborah Little, 61, suffers from HIV and her 66-year-old husband battles depression and neuropathy, according to their attorney.
The couple was tried in March 2014 on possession of marijuana for sale and unlawful cultivation of marijuana. A judge dismissed the cultivation charge and they were acquitted by a jury of possession.
The lawsuit names San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman and San Diego County Sheriff William Gore as well as members of the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force.
When reached for comment, a spokesman for San Diego police referred questions to the city attorney. A chief city attorney declined to comment.
The lawsuit alleges that the search of the Littles’ home was not supported by evidence in a warrant affidavit. They also allege unreasonable search, excessive force and that the tactics by police violated their right to due process.
“Upon information and belief, the NTF officers’ conduct was motivated by evil motive and intent, including discrimination against all users of marijuana, regardless of legal status and California law,” the suit alleges.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages to be determined at trial.