sounds like a clear cut case of extortion to me, you can gamble, drink, even buy a woman's body, but don't even think about having marijuna in that moral state!!!
Nevada -- A 56-year-old woman convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana may get to keep her Boulder City home without a court fight despite the city's lawsuit to seize the property. She apparently may pay the city to drop the lawsuit.
Boulder City Attorney Dave Olsen said he's optimistic a settlement will be reached with Cynthia Warren that would have her pay in exchange for the city dropping its effort to confiscate her home, which city officials say would fetch $400,000 in an auction.
The lawsuit sparked debate in Boulder City over personal property rights versus the need to crack down on drugs.
Olsen said he and Warren's attorney, John Lusk, have been discussing settling the case. Olsen refused to say how much money would be enough for Boulder City to drop the lawsuit.
Boulder City filed the lawsuit in District Court in April, alleging Warren was a marijuana dealer. Police had raided her home and found six marijuana plants, a large bowl with 2.9 ounces of marijuana, baggies, alleged sales records and paperwork detailing water and cultivating schedules for growing marijuana.
A 49-year-old man who lived at the home with her was also charged in connection with the marijuana.
A settlement of the lawsuit "has been my objective from the outset," said Olsen, who has come under fire from some residents for trying to seize Warren's home.
"I have been doing these types of cases off and on for 16 years, and in virtually every case, I have never taken anybody's property. We have always settled. Contrary to what some people might believe, I am not interested in taking this poor woman's house."
Warren had been charged by the Clark County district attorney's office with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and conspiracy to possess, both felonies. But in July, Warren, after a plea of no contest, was found guilty of possession of drugs not to be introduced into interstate commerce, a misdemeanor. In addition to her 30-day suspended sentence and $500 fine, she is required to complete drug counseling.
Lusk has criticized the city's tactic to seize Warren's almost paid-for home based on the misdemeanor possession charge for which she was convicted. But he said he was open to resolving the case. He said fighting the case could be more costly to Warren than "a token payment of some kind."
Taking the case to court "could be very expensive on both sides. It is ridiculous," Lusk said.
Olsen said, "The bottom line here is that if we can't reach an acceptable settlement, we will go forward with the case."
Under state law, money from drug forfeiture cases is restricted for anti-drug uses, which could include equipment, drug-sniffing dogs or undercover buys.
Previously, Boulder City obtained $3,000 from a local resident whose vehicle authorities allege was used to transport drugs, Olsen said. The man settled the case rather than risk losing his vehicle, Olsen said.
Boulder City sought to obtain another home in 1999 but lost that forfeiture case in court, Olsen said. Olsen was not the city attorney at the time.
Lusk defended that homeowner as well, a woman who had allowed her son to live at a home she owned that police alleged was used for manufacturing methamphetamines.
Lusk said pursuing the case against Warren is just as wrong-headed as that failed lawsuit was.
"I think trying to forfeit her house over alleged marijuana in her house is just an error in judgment not only on the prosecutor's part but by the City Council," Lusk said.
Brian Wargo covers suburban government for the Sun.
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Author: Brian Wargo, Las Vegas Sun
Published: October 11, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Las Vegas Sun Inc.