Drug suspect gets day in court Westminster woman to answer marijuana charges

November 23, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Since her September drug trial was postponed, Pamela S. Davis has tried -- and failed -- to get a Carroll Circuit Court judge to listen to her.

Acting as her own attorney, the Westminster woman has tried to persuade Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. -- who canceled a jury trial a day before it was set to be heard -- to change his mind.

He didn't.

She asked the judge to lift the 30-day filing requirement for mandatory motions -- such as requests for evidence suppression or dismissal of a charge.

Three times he said no, maintaining rules governing trial procedures apply equally to lawyers and non-lawyers.

So tomorrow, armed with two freshly filed pretrial motions, Ms. Davis will get her day -- or two -- in court. In front of Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold and a jury, Ms. Davis will defend herself against a four-count indictment that alleges she deals drugs out of her Humbert Schoolhouse Road farm.

Ms. Davis' drug distribution and possession charges stem from a May 7 raid on her farm by members of the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force who were disguised as United Parcel Service deliverymen.

The so-called UPS case has been highly publicized. In an unusual move for the task force, a bogus deliveryman presented a package containing 1.5 ounces of marijuana addressed to Terrapin Station, Ms. Davis' farm.

After a woman at the house signed for the delivery, the task force moved in, arresting Ms. Davis, her daughter Sara Davis, her son David Kif Davis and, about a week after the raid, Claudia Roll, a family friend who lives at the farm.

Ms. Davis and her son were eventually indicted by a Carroll grand jury.

The task force recovered about half of the delivered marijuana; Mr. Davis was said in court records to have eaten the rest while on the roof. Except for an additional ounce of marijuana seized from a night stand, officers found little that was illegal.

But they did take -- and eventually return -- $40,000 in computer equipment Ms. Davis used to run her Guatemalan clothing business. A civil suit seeking $100,000 in damages from the task force for the seizure of her business computers is pending in Circuit Court.

Two of the four people charged in the raid have had their charges dropped. In July, District Judge Donald M. Smith threw out the search warrant signed by Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. and used to enter Terrapin Station in Sara Davis' case. Prosecutors dropped marijuana possession charges against her. About two weeks later, prosecutors dropped possession charges against Ms. Roll, citing insufficient evidence.

Now, Pamela Davis is hoping those two cases point toward her vindication.

Before Judge Arnold selects a jury, Ms. Davis will attempt to argue two motions, which she filed Thursday.

The first motion is actually a fourth request for a waiver of the 30-day filing rule.

"The seizure of evidence in the case was illegal, unconstitutional and otherwise in violation of" her rights, she wrote in the motion, seeking an opportunity to have the warrant -- and therefore, the bulk of evidence seized -- thrown out of the case.

The second motion is a request for Judge Beck to remove himself from the case, ostensibly a moot issue now that Judge Arnold has been assigned to preside.

But in the motion, Ms. Davis -- a high school graduate -- says she may call Judge Beck as a witness.

"It is possible that Judge Beck may be called as a witness to facts surrounding the execution of the search-and-seizure warrant in question," she wrote. "It would be clearly prejudicial to the defense in this case and to this defendant to have a possible witness sit as the trial judge."

Ms. Davis has said since the time of her arrest that she feels persecuted by the system. She hopes to convey her message of marijuana legalization to the jury and to the public during her trial.

In late spring, Ms. Davis founded Americans Against Marijuana Prohibition, a group she says is "dedicated to ending the marijuana war." Yesterday, she held an "AANP Network Meeting" where seminars titled "Advocating Medical Marijuana" and "Where Did All the Hippies Go?" were on the agenda.

The group "is really moving forward and making a real impact on the various fronts where steps toward legalization are actually happening," she wrote in an AANP newsletter distributed last week.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III, who heads the drug task force, has said in court filings that Ms. Davis' self-representation isn't going to help her win her case tomorrow.

"The defendant's claims are utterly without merit," he wrote in a response to one of her motions. "That the seemingly endless barrage of petitions alleging error and denial of rights without substantiation in the record afford no grounds for relief."

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