A federal judge has tossed out for the second time San Juan County Commission Chairman Calvin Black's $3.5 million false imprisonment and slander suit over a raid on his home by federal agents seeking ancient Indian artifacts.
"What it means is the government won and I lost," said Black.The suit said that then-U.S. Attorney Brent Ward unlawfully ordered federal agents to seize 23 ancient Indian artifacts from Black's home in 1986.
The search was part of 16 raids in Utah and Colorado where federal agents seized 325 artifacts suspected of having been stolen from public lands.
Black, his wife Carolyn, Danny Black and Shane and Mary Shumway filed suit against Ward and federal agents Ben Tafoya, Tim Clark, Daniel Hughes and Craig Endicott. They alleged agents illegally detained them during a three-hour search of the Black home near Blanding when the Blacks and Shumways were forced to stay in one room of the house during the raid.
Earlier, U.S. District Judge David Winder ruled the detention was warranted because Carolyn Black had moved toward a gun cabinet and allegedly threatened to shoot the agents.
Winder ruled Friday that the detention of the Blacks "even viewed in a light most favorable to their claim, was legally justified."
Black also said Ward slandered him when the U.S. attorney said he could prove 10 of the 23 items seized from the Black's home were from federal lands.