A federal appeals court ruled Friday that police acted properly in their
1996 search and seizure of marijuana from four Memphis "pot farms."

The ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a decision
by U.S. Dist. Court Judge Bernice Donald that threw out evidence seized by
police at two of the four locations allegedly controlled by James and Carol
Elkins, both of whom are serving prison terms.

The appeals court ruling means the couple could face new charges, though
Asst. U.S. Atty. Thomas Colthurst declined comment Friday on the
possibility of new charges or the appeals court ruling.

The court also affirmed Donald's decision that searches of the other two
indoor growing operations were legal and the evidence seized could be used
in court.

The farms were among the most sophisticated and extensive ever uncovered by
Memphis police, who seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants, processed
marijuana, shotguns, a crossbow and plant growing equipment in four
separate raids on Aug. 21, 1996.

James Elkins had hired several off-duty police officers to guard the
facilities, prompting a federal and local investigation that later found
the off-duty cops had no knowledge of what they were guarding.

Elkins pleaded guilty in 2000 to federal drug, money laundering and
firearms charges. He was sentenced to 15 years and eight months.

Carol Elkins, his wife, pleaded guilty to a money laundering count and is
serving a five-year sentence.

Pubdate: Sat, 03 Aug 2002
Source: Commercial Appeal (TN)
Contact: letters@gomemphis.com
Copyright: 2002 The Commercial Appeal
Website: http://www.gomemphis.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/95
Author: Bill Dries
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Cannabis)