Jury set to decide civil rights lawsuit
DENVER – A jury could decide in June 2007 whether local police violated a former Frisco couple’s civil rights during a meth raid of their home nearly two years ago.Josh Brudwick and Kathryn Rhodes are suing Summit County Sheriff John Minor, the Board of County Commissioners, Frisco police chief Tom Wickman, the town of Frisco, undersheriff Derek Woodman, Frisco Sgt. Mark Heminghous and sheriff’s Sgt. Cale Osborn for economic and non-economic damages they say they experienced as a result of the July 25, 2004, incident at their home.According to a pretrial order signed by Judge Wiley E. Daniel, a jury will begin hearing the case on June 4, 2007, in U.S. District Court in Denver. The trial is estimated to last seven days, but the case could still settle before the trial date.According to court documents, the Summit County Drug Task Force entered the couple’s residence in Meadow Creek Villas after a neighbor called the Frisco Police Department multiple times complaining of suspicious odors emanating from the couple’s rented condo.The search did not turn up any methamphetamines, and no charges against the couple were filed. The Fifth Judicial District Task Force support reimbursed the unit’s owner $3,060.82 for damages sustained during the police raid.The couple, who now lives in California, says police violated their constitutional rights during the raid because they were subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure based on a warrant that lacked probable cause, and they were subjected to an unlawful arrest and detention for several hours without any justification, according to court documents. They are asking for reimbursement of moving expenses, lost income, past and future mental health treatment costs and non-economic damages such as pain, suffering emotional distress, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.The defendants say that the search warrant was approved by both a county judge and a deputy district attorney before it was acted upon, and that police had probable cause to believe that the couple was manufacturing meth in their home because of complaints from the neighbor and the corroboration of the odor by police officers.The couple was not home at the time of the incident, but police pulled over their vehicle and detained them until the search was completed.Attorneys for both the plaintiffs and defendants have listed a number of expert and non-expert witnesses they may call to the stand during the trial, including Brudwick and Rhodes, all the defendants, current and former Frisco police officers, the neighbors who reported the odor coming from the plaintiffs’ condo and a former Summit Daily News reporter who wrote about the incident. Through their attorney, Rhodes and Brudwick first filed the lawsuit in Summit County District Court in March 2005. On April 1, 2005, the case was moved to federal court because violation of civil rights is a claim based on a federal statute.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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