A federal judge on Monday dismissed the most serious charges of a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who said officers illegally raided his business and home while investigating his Oakdale marijuana collective.
U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger threw out two charges of conspiracy and said Addison DeMoura, 36, cannot seek punitive damages against Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties and the city of Oakdale.
DeMoura sought $2 million, according to initial claims. But Wanger, who is based in Fresno, gave DeMoura another chance to amend and refile his civil complaint on some charges.
"Today's outcome was a good one for us," said Kimberly Colwell, an Oakland attorney who represents the government agencies involved.
Colwell said she soon will seek a complete dismissal of the case. "It is our hope the evidence will show the case is without merit," she said.
In court papers, DeMoura said officers "smashed" into his home dressed in black military strike team regalia and ski masks and pressed the muzzles of their loaded firearms against family members during the July 31, 2007, raid.
DeMoura said he would decide whether to refile his complaint after discussing the case with his attorneys Monday.
"I've never been in this just to make the city pay," DeMoura said. "I've been in this to have my rights recognized."
The felony criminal charges against DeMoura were dismissed by a Stanislaus County judge after she said officers left out "very important facts" when writing a warrant to search the Oakdale Natural Choice Collective.
DeMoura said city officials were subverting state law and the will of voters who in 1996 passed Proposition 215, which allows for the medical use of marijuana for those with a doctor's recommendation.
He said his collective served 600 patients in the three months it was open in mid-2007.
But several Stanislaus County cities have banned pot sales in recent years, including Modesto and Oakdale, according to Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group with offices in Oakland, Southern California and Washington, D.C.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2337.