Drug-Planting Case|Against Cops Goes Bust

     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit claiming Santa Clara County sheriff’s officers planted drugs in a woman’s home.
     Allison Ross sued the sheriff’s department, its crime lab, Sheriff Laurie Smith and 12 officers in April 2014.
     Ross said the officers came to her home around 11 p.m. on New Years Eve 2009 after arresting her husband a few houses down the street. They “illegally detained” Ross while conducting an unauthorized search of her home, according to the complaint.
     After failing to find any drugs in her home, Ross said the officers “planted narcotics which were kept in one of the officer’s vehicle.”
     A police vehicle dashboard camera recorded an officer saying, “The house is clean, there is no meth in the house’, ‘we’re gonna spike that and we’re gonna spike him.’ ‘I got the meth in the ——- car,'” the complaint states. (Epithet deleted in complaint)
     In December 2014, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila partly denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge dismissed the crime lab as an improper party and dismissed several of Ross’s constitutional claims.
     In August, Ross’s attorneys, Lori J. Constanzo and B.J. Fadem, filed a motion to withdraw as her counsel, and Davila granted the motion.
     “Counsel represents that there has been a breakdown of his attorney-client relationship along with an inability to effectively communicate with plaintiff,” Davila wrote in his Aug. 24 order, adding Ross never notified the court of any opposition to the attorneys’ motion to withdraw.
     In their motion to withdraw, both attorneys said they informed Ross by telephone of their intent to stop representing her and advised her to seek new counsel.
     On Sept. 18, the sheriff’s department filed a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution.
     Davila granted the motion and dismissed Ross’s complaint with prejudice on Friday.
     “Plaintiff has offered no explanation for her failure to oppose or respond to the dismissal motion,” Davilla wrote in his 3-page ruling.
     The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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