Good News for Lynne Meredith
Lynne Meredith Civil UPDATE
> Date: Saturday February 22nd, 2003 (9:05 PM) UTC
> GREAT NEWS HERE ON OUR CASES! We are making WONDERFUL progress >on our
> $100 million dollar action against THE 40 of the agents who raided my
> business and home and my 19 year old daughter's home on July 10, 1998.
> I have attached a Summary of that case and the Judges ruling denying the
> agents immunity from our suit!
> We withstood three Motions to Dismiss by the Agents' attorneys and
> FINALLY got a ruling DENYING Andrew Erath, the agent in charge of the
> raid (there are also 36 other agents) immunity from suit on the grounds
> that they VIOLATED our clearly established Constitutional Rights in
> executing a search warrant in a manner that was violative of the 4th
> Amendment!
> We ALSO got a GREAT taste of JUSTICE from the 9th Circuit last week.
> Erath had appealed his DENIAL of immunity by the District Court and we
> had an Oral Hearing before three 9th Circuit judges.
> The judges only allowed Gayle Bybee to speak - which at first concerned
> me - until the judges explained that, although the District Judges Order
> was a Denial of Immunity applicable to ALL plaintiffs, Erath had ONLY
> appealed the issues against Gayle! I think it was arrogance on their
> part and it worked to our advantage because he has missed an opportunity
> for any appeal against anyone except Gayle.
> Gayle's hearing went FANTASTICALLY! I had such a strong sense of
> justice - it brought tears to my eyes! Here was a Court of Law who gave
> a DAMN about the Constitution and our rights! The judges really gave
> the government attorney HELL! It was obvious that they were NOT amused
> by the agent's blatant disregard for our Constitutional rights! They
> quoted the same case law I put in our brief (I prepared the brief and
> Gayle argued it). The poor attorney had no defense for the agents
> unconstitutional actions! In this type of hearing the issue is whether
> the government violated clearly established law in violating the
> Constitutional Rights of the Plaintiffs and should therefore have to
> stand trial. If you can get through this phase it is highly probable
> that you will win at trial because the issues are IDENTICAL!
> When the government attorney got up to give his closing arument, the
> Judges were so fed up, they interupted him in the middle of his first
> sentence and said,
> This is also a victory for our pending criminal case because we have
> solid grounds for suppressing all of the evidence on the theory of the
> "fruit from the poisonous tree!"
> Erath was a part of every step of the process!
> We also have hired Joe Izen - who I believe to be the best
> Constitutional attorney in America. He won the Troesher case, proving
> that there is NO 5th Amendment exception to tax cases. He also got
> convictions overturned in the Dahlstrom case which is a Trust case,
> almost identical to ours. He proved the trusts were lawful instruments
> and also that the defendants 1st Amendment rights of Advocacy were
> violated. He also had a case in Belize where he got the Supreme Court
> of Belize to rule against the United States Government who was trying to
> seize books and records (the SEC was attempting to seize them to turn
> them over to the IRS). Just last month Izen won a case where he proved
> that the IRS defrauded the Court! The Court was so mad they wanted to
> disbar the IRS attorneys - only to find that they were not licensed to
> practice law!
> Here's the link to Izen's most recent case. I LOVED it!
> Dixon v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 00-70858 (9th Cir.
> 01/17/2003)
> I'll keep you posted!
> Love and Liberty!
> Lynne
> ==============
> District Court Judge, Florence-Marie Cooper, in her Order of September
> 19, 2001 [docket 118]. Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part
> Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment
> "The defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity as to, and
> therefore summary judgment is DENIED as to the following claims: "2)
> plaintiffs' claims regarding the alleged use of force in executing
> search warrants at both properties; and 3) plaintiffs' claims regarding
> the unconstitutional detention of the occupants at both properties."
> Excessive Force  Sunset Beach
> "It is well established that the use of excessive force in the execution
> of a search or arrest warrant will violate the Fourth Amendment. Graham
> v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396, 109 S. Ct. 1865 (1989)...
> "The Court concludes that defendants are not entitled to qualified
> immunity on the issue of whether they used excessive force in the
> execution of search warrants at plaintiffs' Sunset Beach property.
> Plaintiffs have offered evidence that officers entered the premiseswith
> guns drawn and pointed at the occupants. At least one officer carried a
> battering ram or an ax. Although a protective sweep of the premises
> uncovered no weapons, the occupants of the property were detained for
> many hours. Plaintiff, Bybee was physically restrained, taken to the
> ground, and handcuffed for some thirty minutes. Her arms were bruised
> as a result of the struggle with Erath, and her wrists were in pain
> because of the tightness of the handcuffsThe occupants were not allowed
> to use the telephone and could not use a restroom unless accompanied by
> an officer."
> "Upon the team's entry into the third floor, it is undisputed that
> they almost immediately encountered BybeeThe agent in charge, Erath did
> not have a copy of the Search Warrant because it had been left in the
> carBybee called, loudly, for plaintiff Lynne Meredith, expressing her
> concerns that the search was illegal, that the officers had not shown
> her a search warrantIt is undisputed that Erath forced Bybee to the
> ground in his attempt to control and handcuff her, Erath, himself
> testified that he did so notwithstanding the fact he did not find Bybee
> threatening.
> Bybee testified that she did not try to flee from the officers, but
> that Erath grabbed her arms and caused extensive bruisingKenneday did
> not see or hear her struggling, although he heard her calling for
> plaintiff, Lynne Meredith, and repeating that the agents had no right to
> be there. By Kenneday's account, Bybee continued to ask for a search
> warrant while in a prone position. Bybee testified that the defendants
> detained her for over thirty minutes in tight handcuffs."
> "The raid team also encountered Lynne Meredith on their entry on
> the third floorAgents Molly Molt and another agent encountered Meredith
> in a closet where she was getting dressed. Agent Molt informed Meredith
> that she was an agent with the IRS, that she had a search warrant and
> that Meredith needed to get dressed. Meredith asked for a copy of the
> search warrant.
> Meredith testified that the two agents came running in with guns
> drawn, asking if she had any guns. Meredith informed them that they had
> no weapons.
> Meredith then saw Bybee in the hallway in handcuffs and heard Bybee
> screaming her name. The agents took Bybee to one room and Meredith to
> another in an unfruitful attempt to interview them. Meredith again
> asked for a search warrant about forty minutes after the raid teams'
> entry.
> Some time after lunch, Meredith was told that she was free to
> leave. Before that time, Meredith was not allowed to go down to the
> second floor and was not permitted to answer the phone."
> District Court Judge, Florence-Marie Cooper, in her Order of September
> 19, 2001 [docket 118]. Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part
> Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment
> Excessive Force - Huntington Beach
> "Plaintiffs have similarly raised a triable issue of fact as to whether
> the manner of executing the search warrant at the Huntington Beach
> property was reasonable. Viewing the evidence in the light most
> favorable to the plaintiffs, the agents forced one young female
> occupant, at gunpoint out of the residence in her underwear, and
> required another young female occupant to get dressed in full view of
> four male agents whose guns were pointed at her  agents who did not
> identify themselves as agents of the government. Accordingly the
> agents are not entitled to qualified immunity for their actions in
> executing the Search Warrant at the Sunset Beach or Huntington Beach
> property."
> "Jenifer Meredith apparently did not hear the team's initial entry
> into her residence. It is uncontroverted that Jenifer was sleeping
> unclothed in her bedroom when the team made its entry. It is
> uncontroverted that she heard men's voices, yelling her name, telling
> her to get up and get out of the house. It is uncontroverted that at
> least four men were standing over her bed with guns pointed at her.
> Jenifer testified that she was frightened and asked them why they
> were there, but that the men did not answer her question and did not
> identify themselves as federal agentsAgent Nichols testified that when
> he entered Jenifer's bedroom he would have announced who he was and that
> he had a warrant because that's what they always say. It's
> uncontroverted that the agents would not leave or turn around to allow
> her to get dressed in privacy, despite Jenifer's insistence that they do
> so. Agent Nichols testified that, although there was a female agent at
> the scene, he was not willing to get the female to guard Jenifer while
> she got dressed
> As soon as Jenifer realized that agents were not burglars but were
> from the IRS, she asked for a search warrant but was not given
> oneBritaney's, Leah's and Krista's testimony is consistent with Jenifer
> 's. Britaney testified that she heard Jenifer screaming and crying,
> asking for a search warrant. Leah testified that Jenifer asked to see
> the search warrant and the agents said, "No."
> Jenifer testified that the agents did not knock on her bedroom door
> before they entered; instead they kicked in the door. Agent Nichols
> testified that he doesn't think he kicked in the door but he's not sure.
> Britaney testified that she did not hear Jenifer's door kicked in [she
> was outside], but she saw a footprint on the door and the wood was
> cracked on the sides. She was unable to close the door as a result.
> Leah's testimony is consistent with Britaneys. Leah testified that
> there were big black shoe marks on the bottom of the door."
> "Britaney testified that were kept outside of the residence for about an
> hourAgent Burget testified that he was instructed to watch over
> [baby-sit] four or five females who were brought out..."
> Unconstitutional Detention of Occupants  Huntington Beach
> "With respect to the Huntington Beach property, plaintiffs have
> offered evidence that Jenifer was kept out of her residence, in full
> view of her neighbors, for about an hour. When expressing her desire to
> go to her mother's house, the agents said, "You don't want to go there
> right now" and started chuckling about it.
> Jenifer's detention added significantly to the public stigma associated
> with the search because she and her friends were detained in full view
> of her neighbors. Jenifer testified that she perceived a change in her
> neighbor's attitude towards her as a result of the search. The law
> enforcement interest in detaining her do not seem particularly strong.
> There is no evidence that Jenifer posed any risk of harm to the
> agentsAccordingly the agents are not entitled to qualified immunity for
> their 3-hour detention of Jenifer."
> "Leah Potter, who is not a party to this action but who was present at
> the property when it was searched, testifiedshe heard, 'Boom, boom,
> boom, police open up!' Leah estimated that ten to twenty seconds
> elapsed between the time agents first knocked and when they entered.
> Leah went into the hall and raised her hands. She saw six to eight men
> with guns pointed at herShe did not see any badges on the agent's
> jackets. They yelled at her to get outside. She was wearing only her
> underwear, and asked if she could get her clothes. She was told she
> could not. Another occupant was eventually permitted to retrieve a
> sweatshirt for Leah and was later permitted to retrieve an inhaler from
> Leah's purse to alleviate Leah's subsequent asthma attack."
> "As noted, the agents detained all occupants of both properties.
> There is no evidence that the agents were attempting to prevent the
> flight of occupants by detaining themThere is no evidence that any of
> these individuals presented any risk of harm to the agents. On the
> whole, the evidence viewed in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs
> leads the Court to conclude that the agents are not entitled to
> qualified immunity with respect to their actions in detaining the
> plaintiffs."
> The question of whether an officer is entitled to qualified immunity as
> to an excessive force claim is 692, 705, 101 S.Ct. 2595 (1981) Here the
> Court is dealing with a warrant to search for evidenceAs the Summers
> court recognized. 'Special circumstances, or a prolonged detention,
> might lead to a different conclusion in an unusual case." Id. At n. 21,
> 101 S.Ct. at 2595[A] detention might be unreasonable in a particular
> instance either because the detention itself was improper or because it
> is carried out in an unreasonable manner." Franklin, 31 F.3d at 876.
> Here, plaintiffs allege that although only one person was listed as the
> target of the search, all occupants of both properties were confronted
> at gunpoint and detained for many hours while the agents searched for
> records and documents in connection with a tax inquiryAs the Franklin
> Court observed, 'There is a basic difference between the two categories
> of cases [a search for contraband versus a search for evidence].
> Persons being arrested are ordinarily suspected of having committed
> serious, often violent, crimes.Persons being detained while a search of
> the house is being conducted may simply be visiting a home or business
> for an innocuous if not benevolent purposes.
> A detention conducted in connection with a search may be unreasonable if
> it is unnecessarily, painful, degrading or prolonged, or if it involves
> an undue invasion of privacy.' Franklin, 31 F.3d at 876
> Accordingly the agents are not entitled to qualified immunity for their
> actions in executing the Search Warrant at the Sunset Beach property."
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> ICE - Investigating Curious Evidence
> Web site:
> E-mail: ice@i...
> *****************************************************
> IceBucket Information Updates List Subscription:
> Subscribe:
> Unsubscribe:
> Archives:
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx