DRUG TASK FORCE SETTLES RAINBOW VALLEY CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIM FOR $100,000
Judith Roderick, an Olympia tax consultant and grandmother, settled her
federal civil rights claim against Thurston County, Thurston County
Narcotics Task Force and former detective Anthony McCormick for $100,000,
it was announced today by her attorneys, Hugh J. McGavick and Shawn Newman.
Ms. Roderick was charged with money laundering by prosecutors for advising
Gideon Israel on placing Rainbow Valley in trust. Although she was never
convicted of any crime, task force detectives seized the assets of her
small business and arrested her at the airport as she returned from a
vacation. The charges were based on information provided by former
detective McCormick and a paid informant, John Maloney.
Ms. Roderick sued in federal court alleging violation of her civil rights,
malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment. On March
2nd, Judge Robert J. Bryan, U.S. District Judge, issued an order clearing
the way for those claims to proceed to jury trial. The settlement, entered
on March 21, represents the end of the Rainbow Valley litigation.
Attorney Hugh McGavick of Olympia said that "This case illustrates the
adage that the end - getting the property - justifies any means, even if it
takes disregarding basic civil rights."
Co-counsel Shawn Newman added that "We have a Kafka-esque situation in
which the government can take your property without a conviction. Where the
government and the paid informants are like bounty hunters who share a
percentage of the proceeds."
Measures are pending in Congress and state legislatures to reform civil
forfeiture laws. In Washington, groups as diverse as the ACLU and
Libertarian Party supported SB 5935 sponsored by Senator Dow Constantine,
D-King, to make it harder for police to confiscate private property. Voters
in Oregon and Utah overwhelmingly passed citizen initiatives last November
reforming civil forfeiture laws. Oregon s Measure 3 calls for a conviction
before confiscation, took effect in December. In Washington, a diverse
coalition, called Liberty Initiatives, is working on an initiative which
would require conviction before forfeiture (www.libertyinitiatives.org).