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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT ox'RUTHERI'ORD CouNrY, TENNEsslllEU

STACEY HAMILTON and ) FEB 0I 20tg


M.A.RY RUTH HAMILTON,
Plaintiffs,
) 3--ffigt/
)
)
c".u No.A Sat+o
Y )
)
--ffi
RUTHERF'ORD COUNTY TENNESSEE, ) JURY DEMAND
DISTRICT ATTORNEY JENNINGS JONES )
(in his individual capacity), )
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY )
JOHN ZIMMERMAN )
(in his individual capacity), )
RUTHE.RFORD COUNTY SHERIFF )
MIKE FITZHUGH )
(in his individual and offïcial cnpacity), )
OFTICDR ROPER )
(in his individual and official capacity), )
DETECTIVE CURTIS BEANE )
(in his individual ahd ofücial capacify), )
Defendants. )

COMPLAINT

I.INTRODUCTION

This civil rights lawsuit involves abject governmental comrption, conspiracy, and

connivance that deprived a law-abiding, same-sex couple of their constitutional rights. The

plaintiffs lawfully operated businesses in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Howevern they suffered

egregious abuses at the hands of local govemment officials during the course of unlawful raids

and arrests in an unlar¡rful govèrnmental conspiracy known as "OPERATION CANDY CRUSH."

OPERATION CANDY CRUSH was premised on the idea that Plaintiffs and other local

businesses were trafFrcking in illegal products. In reality, as confirmed by a local judge in


Rutherford County and later admitted by several of the Defendants, the Plaintiffs only sold lawful

products that contained cannabidioil, known as CBD.

EXHIBIT
1 t
o
5
o
g

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The conduct of the officials in this case brings to mind the adage offered by U.S. Supreme

Court Justice Louis Brandeis years ago: "The grcatest dalgers to liberty lurk in insidious

encroaclnnent by rnen of zeal. well-meatring but without r¡rderstancling." Oltnstead v, IJniled

stares. 277 U,S. 438, 469 (l 928X.1. Brandeis, dissenting).

Justice Brandeis' prescient waming 90 years ago refened to the government violators of

cìvil rights as "well meaning." In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs were confronted with Defendants who

often were not oowell-meaning." Instead, these government officials operated intentionally to

conspire, injure, and defame Plaintiffs.

II. PARTIES

Plaintiffs

1. Plaintiff STACEY HAMILTON is a citizen and resident of Rutherford County, Ternessee.

During all times relevant to the complaint, she co-owned and operated the business known

as Kaleidoscope Vapor located af 3325 Memorial Blvd., Suite E in Murfreesboro,

Tennessee, and another business, Kaleidoscope Custom Vapor Lounge, located at 2992

South Church Street.

2, Plaintiff MARY RUTH HAMILTON is a citizen and resident of Rutherford County,

Tennessee. During all times relevant to the complaint, she co-owned and operated the

business known as Kaledisocpe Vapor located at 3325 Memorial Blvd., Suite E in


Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and another business, Kaleidoscope Custom Vapor Lounge,

located at2992 South Church Street.

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Defendants

3. Defendant RUTFIERFORD COUNTY is a political subdivision of the State of Tennessee,

and may be served with process at the County Executive's office located One Public

Square, Room 101, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130.

4, Defendant JENNINGS JONES is the elected District Attorney for Rutherford County,

Tennessee. He may be served with process at the Rutherford County District Attorney's

office, 320 V/ Main St #100, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

5. Defendant JOHN ZIMMERMAN is an Assistant District Attotney for Rutherlord County,

Tennessee. He may be served with process at the Rutherford County District Attorney's

offrce, 320 W Main St #100, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

6. Defendant MIKE FITZHUGH is the Sheriff for Rutherford County. He may be served

with process at the Rutherford Couttty Sheriffs Office, 940 New Salem Highway,

Murfreesboro, TN 37 129.

7. Defendant OFFICER ROPER upon information and belief, Officer Roper is employed by

Rutherford County as a deputy who may be served with process at the Rutherford County

Sheriffs Office, 940 New Salem Highway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129.

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8. Defendant CURTIS BEANE is a detective for the Rutherford County Sheriff s Offrce. He

may be served with process at the Rutherford County Sheriff s Office, 940 New Salem

Highway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129.

III. JURISDICTION and VENUE

9. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction of this matter and venue is proper in this

Court pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. $ 16-10-101 et seq,

IV. FACTUAL ALLDGATIONS

10. Plaintiffs are owners of two stores that sell a variety of tobacco products, including

pn-rclucts that contain camabidiol (CBD), wlúch is legal under Tennessee and federal law.

11. Tennessee statutes explain that CBD is a legal product. Tenn. Code Arur. $ 39-17-

402(16) ("'Marijuana' . . . does not include industrial hemp, as clefined in $ 43-26-102");

Tenn. Code Ann. $ 43-26-102(4XB) (lndustrial hemp "includes any industrial hemp-

derivetl products that do not contain more than tiuee-tenths of one percent (0.3%) of úelta-

9 tetralrydrocannabinol (THC) in a topical or ingestible consumer product.") Tenn. Code

Ann. $ 43-26-103(C) ("Non-viable industrial hemp or any product made from non-viable

industrial hemp procured through a grower or processor licensed by the department, or

otherwise procured in accordance with the department's rules, shall not be considered

marijuana under $ 39-17-4i5.")

12, On February 12, 2018, Plaintiff Stacey Hamilton leamed from her employee,

Chance Hulan, that the Murfreesboro Police were camped outside of her store located at

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2992 South Church Street and demanding that the owners of the business present

themselves.

13. The police officers placed a large sign outside of the Church Street business saying

that the business was being closed pursuant to a court order.

14, At the Church Street location, the officers conf,iscated various brands of eliquid,

simply because the names of the products "sounded suspicious."

15. Later at the Church Street location, Defendant Assistant District Attomey John

Zimmerman entered the store and started laughing. He talked about how vaping was only

used for inhaling marijuana.

16. Assistant District Attomey Jolur ZirnmeÍrnan told Chance Hulan that his bosses,

Stacey and Mary Ruth Hamiltono were drug dealers.

17. At the time of the conversation with employee Hulan, plaintiff Stacey Hamilton

was at her place of business on Memorial Blvcl.

18. As she prepared to leave, three police ofñcers entered her store on Memorial Blvd.

and began taldng pictures of various CBD prodtrcts.

19. An officer, who identified himself as "Danny" came in the store and told Stacey

Hamilton thàt she was under anest. He informed Stacy Hamilton that her wife, Mary Ruth

Hamilton, was also under arrest and that she needed to come to the store.

20. For about 90 minutes, the officers rummaged through the Memorial Blvd. store,

confiscated lawful materials, and took a variety of pictures.

21. The officers confiscated more than $2,000 in cash, the cash register, and all

products containing CBD.

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22. Mary Ruth Harnilton has severe osteoarthritis and experienced great pain during

this unlawful arrest.

23. Plaintiffs were placed in a police vehicle by Officer Roper. During this time,

Officer Roper blasted very loud Ch¡istian music, as he and other police officers drove to

other businesses that sold CBD products.

24, S/hen Officer Roper's vehicle stopped, he pulled Plaintiff Stacey Hamilton out of
the vehicle by her arm, causing her to fall down on top of him.

25. Officer Roper tried to apologize for causing Plaintiff Stacey Hamilton physical

harm.

26. Plaintiffs Stacey Hamilton and Mary Ruth Flamilton were the only people placed

in the back of the police van with their hands cuffed behind them.

27, During the same day - Feb, 12,2018, - Murfreesboro police offrcers photographed

and seized lawful CBD products at the Plaintiffs' business on South Church Street.

28. During this unlawful raid, the officers seized bottles of e-liquid, saying that "they

wcrc appealing to kids."

29. The officers took and searched the personal belongings of the Plaintifls employee

Chance Hulan.

30. Plaintifß were booked into jail and then bonded out at 6:30 p,m. on the evening of

Feb. 12,2018.

31. Stacey Hamilton and Mary Ruth Hamilton were anaigned on February 16,20L8.

Sracey Hamilton and Mary Ruth Hamilton $/ere charged with two counts of a Class D
felony, possession of a class six controlled substance with intent to distribute within a

protected area.

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32. Plaintiffs Stacey Hamilton and Mary Ruth Hamilton pled not guilty and waived the

reading of the indictment.

33. On February 28,2018, Defendant Jennings Jones stated in a press release that all

charges would be dropped against the Plaintifß and others who were unlawfully rounded

up in the "Candy Crush" raids,

34. When plaintiffs returned to the store, they noticed that their surveillance videos

from the unlawful raids had been tampered with.

35. Latet, all criminal charges were dropped against the Plaintiffs Stacey and Mary

Ruth Hamilton,

36. The insidious and unlawful arrests against Plaintiff can be traced back to an earlier

investigation begun by the Rutherford County's Sheriff s Ofhce on or about February

2017. This investigation concerned the sale of CBD products in Rutherford County.

37, This investigation involved purchasing CBD products from Rutherford County

stores and submitting the products for lab testing by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

38. Following the purchase of CBD products on February 3,2017, from Vapesboro,

Rutherford County detectives submitted these CBD products for testing to the TBI.

39. After this lab report was received, Rutherford County agents met with Defendant

John Zimmerrnan to "seek prosecutorial direction on the case,'o according to Rutherford

County's own internal investigation of the matter.

40. According to interview notes obtained from Rutherford County, Rutherford County
ootook
Sheriffs officers [ab report] to D.A.'s office for advice. [Referred] to John

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Zimmernan, Went into his office . , . LZ, [requested] more purchases from same store and

outside fMurfreesboro]."

41. These notes also record that a Rutherford County Sheriffs Officer "brought up to

[Zimmerman] Amazon is selling [the same products.] He laughed and said we aren't going

after Amazon, He said go to vape stores."

42. Not only did Defendant John Zimmerman provide legal advice to the law

enforcement officers working the case, but crucially, he directed the actions of the law

enforcement officers.

43. The same InterviewNotes specifically state: o'sought legal advice from prosecution.

Spoke to J. Zimm. [a number of] times for clarity. Couldn't get clarity from J. Zimm," The

notes further statc; "[Dishict Attorney] Jennings fJones] expressed definitely illegal."

44. On December 17, 2017, Defendant John Zimmerman sent an e-mail with the

subject'olab reports" to various TBI employees. That email read:

Lab # [Redacted] -by Hernandez (this was the first lab report that kicked
off this investigation) and found exhibit to be schedule vI and containing a
synthetic drug 5-Fluoro ABD.

After this seizure the stores switched to other items and began selling
o'Hemp
Bomb gummy edibles" Police are seizing "Hemp Bond Gummies,'
from various stores, Same mfg and packaging.

Lab [Redacted] by sullivan changed the description of the exhibit from


what was on the request form to o'sugar coated gummy bear', even though
the exhibit description had the Hemp Bomb description

Lab [Redaeted] by Hernandez changed the description of the exhibit from


what was on the Request form, and found the test to be "lnconclusive." This
in spite of the fact that Det, [Redacted] informed that it was the same
packaging for all the above.

Lab [Redacted] by carpenter properly described the 'oHemp Bond gummy


edibles" but shows "No analysis performed" though on the second exhibit

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she did atest and found it to be cannabidiol, BUT did not list it as a schedule
VI substance (the schedule column has a hyphen through it).

Beþre we indict these owners of businesses, and padlock their businesses,


we want to make sure we are understanding what is being offered for sale.
Police say we have about 20 businesses and I want to make sure we are on
the same page as the expert chemists.

45. Based on the above email, as of December 17,2017, Defendant Zimmerman knew

that the TBi lab reports were not conclusive as to the legality or illegality of the products

sold by Plaintifîs.

46, According to a March 26,2018 memo, titled "Narcotics Investigation of CBD oils",

by Major William E. Sharp of the Rutherford County Sheriff s Office:

Early part of Decembçr 2017,I received a call from ADA John Zimmerman
conceming investigation of synthetics, Gummy Bears and Marijuana Oils
being sold in various stores throughout Rutherford County. Zimmerman
asked me to "Get Detective [Redacted] more involved, a lot needed to be
done." Zimmerman said: o'they wanted to take this case to the February
Grand Jury." Zimmerman explained we needed to move quickly and have
this done before (something about legislation). (emphasis added).

47, This memo describes concerns that the Rutherford County Sheriffs Office had

about the Candy Crush operation. Despite these concerns, Rutherford County Sheriff s

proceeded with the arrests of the Plaintifß and the padlocking of their stores anyway. All
charges against all Plaintiffs were later dropped.

48. On February 15, 2018, Defendant Zimmerman sent an e-mail, subject line "Bill just

introduced," attaching a PDF file of proposed Senate BilI2224, The proposed bill, in key

and relevant part, would have amended Tennessee's civil forfeiture laws to specifically
exclude CBD products.

49, Senate BiIl2224 is the legislation to which Defendant Zimmerman was referring

in the December 201'7 meeting described in Major Sharp's memo. Senafe Bill2224 was

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first filed for introduction on January 3I, 201 8, approximately two weeks before Operation

Candy Crush was executed and Plaintiffs were uiminally charged. (See TN.GOV, last

visited October 1 5, 201 8;

lrttplli"vapp.cap.itol.!n,gory'appsil3iillnfoldefault.¿ispx?lljllNrunbcr=g112224&(ìÂ=.

110,)

50. Major Sharp's memo also describes the crucial role that civil forfeiture played in

the Candy Crush operation. Majol Sharp notes that on February 2,2018, the following

meeting and exchange occurred:

I met with DA Jones, ADA Zimmerrnan, and ADA Farmer at Jones'


office...
Wc thcn discussed the issucs about locking the dools and seizing property.
Zimmerman's response was talking about the nuisance law. DA Jones
brought up my concems with civil action. Zimmerman said: "They will
come in on their court date, plead guilty, pay the frnes and get their
businesses open." "We will put off the court dates, attorneys will get tired
of coming to court and settle."

51. The February 2, 2018 meeting had been convened because of Major Sharp's

concerns about the Candy Crush operation, as evidenced by the ftrllowing e-mail, subject

line o'Meeting to discuss edibles," dated January ?4,2018, from Defendant Jennings Jones

to Major Sharp arrd Defendant Zimmerman:

John and Bill:

Bill has expressed a concem about what will happen if we indict, seize
property and then the TBI refi.rses to testiff that the substances used are
illegal, Let's get together and discuss what is going on and how to address
this possible issue.

Are both of you available on Friday, February 2nd at 9am'l If not, we cân
pick another date.

10

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52. This email, sent on January 24, 2078, pre-dates the arrests of Plaintifß and the

padlocking of their stores and the seizure of their products.

53. The same memo desøibes a February 23,2018 phone call from Defenclant Jennings

Jones to Major Sha¡p. This call occurred when it became clear that the arrests of the

Plaintiffs and the oharges against them could not be supported. Major Sharp describes that

phone conversation as follows:

I received a call from DA Jones while at home. He asked if I heard or spoke


with the Sheriff? Jones started the conversation with "F'ucking T,B.l.
refuses to testiff in court over the results." Jones further stated "T.B.l. said
in the meeting they were good with it.o' I asked DA Jones about civil action,
Jones replied "AG said my office was (ok or fine)." I then asked about the
SherifTs Office and civil action, Jones stated he and the AG discussed it,
mentioned the detective's good faith and said the AC thought we would be
fine, General Jones said he would do a press release on Monday or Tuesday.
"\üe will rettrm the money, oils and property. I'll throw T.B.i. under the
bus, they fucked us."

54. The reference to a meeting with the TBI refers to a January 11,2018 meeting

between TBI employees, Defendants Zimmeffnan and Jones, and a Detective from the

Rutherford County Sheriff s OffÏce.

55, As recounted in Rutherford County's Sheriffls Offlrce internal investigative report

The meeting's purpose was for T.B.I. to clarify whether CBD was illegal or not.

[The Rutherford County SherifPs Office Detective] stated the conversation


consisted of what he described as "lawyer talk" that was very unclear to
him. A T.B.I employee expressed it was a scheduled substance, but he
couldn't elaborate in this case whether it was illegal or not. The same
employee advised he could not test for the percentage of THC. T.B.I. was
very clear they did not have the equipment.

[The Detective] stated his takeaway from the meeting was that T.B.I.
couldn't test the percentage of THC and the chemist couldn't determine
whether or not it was legal or illegal in the case. Towards the close of the
meeting, [The Detective] spoke up to a T.B.I. attorney and asked if this stuff

Ll

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legal or illegal According to [The Detective], the response included I am
going to give you the most lawyer answer you are going to hear and it's case
specific. An A.D.A. allegedly tumed and stated to [The Detective] that this
stuff is illegal and we are going forward v/ith this. [The Detective] stated he
felt shut down by the ADA . . . [The Detective]'s recollection of the meeting
with T.B.L appears consistent with T.B.L's press release.

56. The internal investigative Report of the Rutherford County Sheriff s Offrce also

describes the direct involvement of Defendant Rutherfcrrd County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh

in advancing the Candy Crush operation,

57. According to the report, Major Sharp'oleaned towards postponing any advancement

of the cass." The District Attorney's Office was "unsatisfied'o with Sharp's decision and

"reached out to thc highcst lcvel of command at the Sheriff s Office. Two members from

the District Attorney's Office met with the Sheriff and two Chiefs . . . Operation Candy

Crush was executed on February 12,2078."

58. The investigative report concluded with the following recommendation:

I recommend consultation with the County Attomey in any future case


where law enforcement is directed to perform actions inconsistent with their
individual discrction or in which they have persistent concems such as
presented in Operation Candy Cnrsh.

59. On February 12,20t8, Operation Candy Crush was executed, and the leading law

enforcement officers staged a televised press conference in front of the Vapesboro store

owned by Scott and Gina Ritter.

60. Plaintifß were aïrested and charged with violating Tenn. Code Ann. $ 39-17-417

(controlled substances.)

61. Defendants Jennings Jones and Mike Fitzhugh were present at the press conference,

72

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62. In remarks at the press conference, Defendant Fitzhugh described the Candy Crush

operation and stated that the Rutherford County Sheriffs Office and Smyrna Police

Department had "conducted raids" on 23 stores for selling products 'ocontaining a


marij uana derivative."

63, In fact, the CBD products sold at Plaintiffs' store were not derived from

"marijuana" and did not meet Temessee's statutory definition of "marijuana."

64. Defendant Fitzhugh further stated Detectives from the Rutherford County Sheriff s

Offrce and Smyrna Police Department had "acted in an undercover capacity" to purchase

products eontaining CBD "and other synthetic drugs in all23 of these stores."

65. Defendant Fitzhugh also told reporters:

What they do is they take these candies. They take them out of the package.
They spray them with this illegal substance. And then they repackage them.
Where you buy these in the store for a normal price, they repackage these
and they go up 82J0 a package. This is an example of what they've done.
They've taken gummyl^/oñns and infused them with the illegal substance.
And then they repackage them in a different package.

66. These statements by Defendant Fitzhugh were completely false and defamatory, as

there was absolutely no evidence that any Plaintiffs had tampered with product packaging

or "infused" products with an "illegal substance."

67. Defendant Fitzhugh's reference to "other synthetic drugs" was false and
defamatory.

68. Defendant Jennings Jones stated at the press conference, in reference to CBD

products, "TBI has certified that this is a Schedule VI controllecl substance."

69. This statement was false, as TBI agents had repeatedly expressed, including to

Defendant Jones, that it could not determine legality.

13

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70. The Orders to padlock Plaintiffs' businesses were granted by Judge Taylor based

on a "Petition for Abatement of Nuisance'o filed by Defendants Zimmerman and Jones.

71. The Petition stated: "These edible products have been manufactured whereby such

marijuana extracts are laced into and upon various edible products, typically candies that

are generically sold in legitimate markets throughout Rutherford County. These drug-laced

edible products are otherwise similar to candies sold for ingestion by children and adults

alike and are packaged as gummy vvoüns or gunìmy bears."

72. The above statement was completely false. The products did not contain
o'marijuana
extracts." The CBD products, which were legal, were not sold to children.

73, In support of the Petition, Defendants Zimmerman and Jonçs includcd an "Affidavit

in Support of Petition For Abatement of Nuisance And Order to Search Premises." 'fhis

Affidavit was swom by Curtis Beane, a Rutherford County Sheriff s Detective.

74, The affidavit contained the following inaccurate sentence:

The "CBD" candy was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Crime
laboratory (hereafter refened to as "TBI") for analysis whioh determined the
candy had been laced with "CBD."

75, In fact, the TBI had never purported to make any claim regarding "lacing" products

with CBD.

76, But in fact, the TBI had specifically removed scheduling from lab report

171018416. The TBI had entered a dash symbol under the "schedule" column and included

a note: "This report has been amended to remove scheduling." The amended repofi, dated

9/?1117 , revised a prior report, dated 9lL9/1 7, which included a Schedule VI notation,

L4

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77. Detective Beane did not mention in his sworn affidavit that the TBI had amended

lab report 17101841ó to specifically remove scheduling.

78. Defendants Zimmerman and Jones likewise did not mention in their filings to the

Court that the determination of 'oSchedule VI" had been specifìcally removed by

amendment.

79. Instead, Detective Beane and Defendants Zimmerman and Jones placed only the

original report before the Court, making no mention that TBI had amended that report to

removs scheduling.

80. In any event, Detective Beane and Defendants Zimmerman and Jones knew that the

TBI had amended the report and were thus aware that the TBI was not standing by its

determination that lab report I 7 I 01 84 1 6 contained a Schedule VI drug.

81. Tenn. Code Ann. $ 43-26-lA2(4) provides that "Industrial Hemp:" "lncludes any

industrial hemp-derived products that do not contain more than three-tenths of one percent

(0.3%) of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a topical or ingestible consumer product.o'

82. Thus, the CBD products sold by Plaintiffs could be shown to be illegal only upon

a showing that such products contained THC in excess of .3Yo.

83. The Defendants were unable to make such a showing.

84. All charges against Plaintiffs were dismissed and expunged.

85. In the aftermath of the Candy Crush operation, Defendant Jones released a press

statement which cast blame on the TBI. The first sentence of this statement reads:

The District Attorney's office initiated actions to enforce the law in this case
because the TBI assured us that the items being sold at various businesses
in Rutherford County were infused with illegal controlled substances.

L5

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o'l'll
86. This statement is consistent with Defendant Jones' statement to Major Sharp:

throw T.B.I. under the bus."

87. The TBI responded forcefully with the following public statement:

In this matter, it is inaccurate for the local stakeholders in these cases to


assert they made decisions in this case unaware of the limits of our forensic
work. . .

We make no determination of the legality of situations involving the


evidence we examine, and, in fact, our Forensic Scientists are rarely aware
of the circumstances involving the evidence submitted for analysis . . ,

In this matter, we are not able to determine whether the CBD in these cases
originated from industrial hemp, illicit marijuana, ot'synthetic production.
In fact, such a determination is beyond the capability of contemporary drug
identification. . .

In the midst of this


- in detail - fully
process: we clearly explained the
limitations of our analysis to all stakeholders, We did so to ensure they
knew that, though we could identify CBD, we were not able to identify its
origin.

We also explained to them the nuance of the included schedule on our lab
reportso which are provided as a courtesy. In this instance, we listed the
schedule out of an abundance of caution because the sample could have met
the standard for schedule as spelled out in the law. Local agencies and
prosecutors including those in Rutherford County are well aware of
that nuance. - -
During the recent news conference on these cases, General Jones
acknowledged himself that a substance being identified as a particular
schedule does not make it inherently illegal. The circumstances of the
possession or transfer as determined local
by the law enforcement agency
and interpreted -
by the District Attorney General make something
'oillegal."
-
Again, to be clear: TBI lab reports objectively determine the compound
present, but in no way are statements of compound origin, circumstances of
possession, or guilt or innocence. Thouglr we identiJied the substance anrl
the relevant schedule, we made no determination about the legality of the
substance or the circumstance in Rutherforcl County. That was a decision
solely made as in all cases by the local agency and District Attomey
General. - -

1.6

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V. CAUSES OF'ACTTON

COUNT I
FALSE ARREST
(United States Constitution, Amendments Fow and Fourteen; 42 U.S.C. $ i983;
Tennessee Constitution A¡ticle I, $ 7.)
(All Defendants)

88. Plaintifß incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim,

89. Defendants did arrest Plaintiffls against the will of the Plaintiffs.

90. The arrest of Plaintifß was unlawful, objectively unreasonable, and without

probable cause.

9f . Defendants imposed an unlawful restraint upon Plaintiffs' freedom of movenrent

and liberty by anesting Plaintiffs and transporting them to the Rutherford County Jail.

92, Defendants' misconduct violated Plaintifß' right to be free from unreasonable

seizure as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the United

States Constitution and Article I, $ 7 of the Tennessee Constitution.

COI.INT II
FALSE IMPRISONMENT
(tJnited States Constitution, Amendments Four and Fourteen;42 U.S.C. $ 1983;
Tennessee Constitution Article I, $ 7.)
(All Defendants)

93. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim.

94. Defendants did imprison, detain, and restrain the Plaintiffs against the will of the
Plainriffs.

95. The imprisonment, detention, and restraint of the Plaintiffs was unlawful and

without just cause.

t7

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96. At all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendants acted with the intention of

detaining, restraining, and confining Plaintiffs within fixed boundaties, and the acts of

Defendants directly and/or indirectly resulted in the detention, restraint, and confinement

of the Plaintiffs.

97. Defendants' misconduct violated Plaintiffs' right to be free from unreasonable

seizure as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment and the l.4th Amendment of the United

States Constitution and Article I, $ 7 of the Tennessee Constitution.

COTINT IIi
MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
(United States Constitution, Amendment Fourtccn;42 U.S.C. $ 1983;
Tennessee Constitution Article t, $ 8; Terur. Code Ann. {) 8-8-301 et seq,)
(All Defendants)

98. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim.

99. Defendants initiated a criminal action against the Plaintiffs without probable

cause,

100. Defendants subsequently participated in and prosecuted a criminal action against

the Plaintifß without probable cause.

101. Defendants initiated, participated in, and prosecuted a criminal action against the

Plaintiffs with malice.

102. The criminal action against Plaintifß was finally terminated in Plaintifïs' favor.

103. Defenclants' misconduct alleged above was in violation of Plaintiffs' substantive

due process right to be free f¡om unfounded prosecution as guaranteed by the l4th

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Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, $ 8 of the Tennessee

Constitution.

COLINT IV
FOURTH AMENDMENT
(United States Constitution, Amendments Four and Fourteen;42 U,S.C. $ 1983.)
(All Defendants)

104. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim.

105. Defendants searched, seized, arrested, detained, and pursued the prosecution of

Plaintiff without any legal basis for their actions.

106. The actions of the Defendants constitute a violation of the constitutional rights of

the Plaintiff as guaranteed to him by the Fourth Amendment to the lJnited States

Constitution.

COTINT V
EQUAL PROTECTION
(l-Inited States Constitution, Amendment Fourteen; 42 U.S.C. $ 1983; Tennessee Constitution
Article I, $ 8 and Article XI, $ 8.)
(Defendants Jones, Zimmerma¡ur, Fitzhugh, and Beane)

107, Plaintiffs incorporates by reference all allegations containcd in thc paragraphs

above as if restated fully herein verbatim,

108. Defendants targeted Plaintiffs because they were small business owners, rather than

large commercial operations such as Amazon or Wal-Mart,

109. Defendants were aware that large commercial operations sold the same or similar

CBD products as Plaintifß yet did not pursue nuisance claims and criminal charges against

these entities.

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110. The reason Defendants did not prosecute Amazon or Wal-Mart was that these large

commercial entities were unlikely to be as easily intimidated into paying fines and agreeing

to forfeit property to resolve these unsupportable claims and criminal charges.

111. Defendants selectively enforced the law, as they misunderstood it, against

Plaintiffs, beçause Plaintifß were small business owners, with a perceived lack of

ïesources to defeat the unsupportable claims and criminal charges. (See supra,fl 50, "They

will come in on their court date, plead guilty, pay the {ines and get their businesses open."

"We will put off the court dates, attorneys will get tired of coming to court and settle.")

112, The Defendants based their enforcement decision on the arbitrary classification of

Plaintiffs' commercial size and financial standing'

113. These actions violate Plaintiffs' rights under the Foufteenth Amendment's equal

protection clause.

COTINT VI

CryIL CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE PLAINTIFFS' RIGHTS TO BE FREE FROM


FALSE ARREST, FALStr IMPRISONMENT, MALICIOUS PROSECUTION, AND
L]'NLAV/FUL SEIZURE
(42 U.S.C. $ 1985 and $ 1983)
(Defendants Jones, Zimmermarur, Fitzhugh, and Beane)

ll4. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim.

115. Defendants were motivated by financial gain through the abuse of civil forfeiture

laws.

116. In flrrtherance of this forbidden aim, Defendants targeted small businesses.

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lL7, Defendants were aware that the TBI would not testify that the scheduling they had

provided "as a courtesy" established illegality of the tested items'

118. Thus, Defendants knew that probable cause was wholly lacking.

119. When Distribt Attorney Jones and ADA Zimmelrnann set the meeting with the law

enforçement chiefs and they agreed to continue OPERATION CANDY CRUSH, they

entered a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Plaintiffs engaged in the lawful sale of

indushial hemp derivatives.

120. When the officers conducted the raids and seizures on February 12, 2018, acts in

furtherance of the conspiracy materialized and violated the constitutional riglrts of

Plaintifß.

COI.INT VII

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY RIGHTS


FREE EXËRCISE CLAUSE ANd ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE
(United States Constitution, Amendments One and Fourteen; 42 U.S.C. $ 1983;
lennessee Constitution Article I, $ 3.)
(Defendant Roper)

l¿l, Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs

above as if restated fi.rlly herein verbatim.

122, When Officer Roper intentionally blasted loud Christian music in his offrcial law

enforcement vehicle, he was engaged in religious-based hostility towards the Plaintiffs

Stacey and Mary Ruth Hamilton, presumably because they are a same-sex couple.

t23. The offrcial blasting of Christian music constitutes an impermissible endorsement

of religion in violation of both religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment - the

Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.

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lZ4. The offrcial blasting of the Christian music at loud volumes also involves unlawfil

coercion in violation of the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment, including the

Establishment Clause and the First Amendment.

COUNT VIII

DEFAMATION

(Common Law)

(Defendants Jones, Zimmerman, and Fitzhugh)

125. Plaintifß incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs above

as if restated fully herein verbatim.

126. Defendants did make and publish statements conceming the Plaintiffs that were

knowingly false or were reckless with respect to the truth of those statements or were

negligent in failing to ascertain the truth of those statements.

COI.INT IX

DUE PROCESS
(United States Constitution, Amendments Five and Fourteen;42 U,S.C. $ 1983;
Tennessee Constitution Article I, $ 8.)
(Defendants Jones, Zimmerman, and Fitzhugh)

127, Plaintifß incorporate by reference all allegations contained in the paragraphs

above as if restated ftilly herein verbatim.

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l2t, The Defendants conduct unlawfully stigmatized Plaintiffs as drug dealers in their

longstanding communities.

IZg. These defamatory statements caused Plaintiff's great harm to their reputations both

professionally and in a business capacity'

130. These defamatory statements led to a signifrcant loss in business income for the

Plaintiffs.

VI. DAMAGES AND RELIEF

l3l. As a result of the conduct of the Defendants, Plaintiffs have sufferecl:

a. Serious mental and emotional distress;

b. Loss of business income;


c. I-oss of eqjoyment of life;

d. Diminished reputation and standing in the community;

e. Out-of-pooket expenses associated with posting bail, defending øiminal charges,

and rebuilding their businesses.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request:

1. That a jury of 12 persons be empaneled to try this case;

2. A declaratory judgment that Defendants' conduct violated Plaintifß' protected

constitutional rights;

3. For nominal damages;

4. For compensatory damages in an amount not less than $500,000 to be determined at

trial;

5. Reasonable attomey's fees and litigation cxpcnscs pwsuant to 42 U.S.C. $ 1988; and

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6. Such other and general relief as the court deems just.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary Alice Car{io #030859


David L. Hudson Jr,r#016742
Attorneys for Plaintiffs,
Stacey and Mary Ruth Hamilton
111 N. Greenwood St., Ste. B
Lebanon, TN 37087
(6rs)784-4677
maryal ice @carfi I aw. c om
davidhudsonj r@gmail. com

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