A court session has been postponed for an 80-year-old Garfield County man, who is fighting to keep 80 acres of property from being confiscated because law enforcement officers say they found marijuana growing on it.
Bradshaw Bowman didn't appear Monday as previously scheduled in 6th District Court because his attorney is negotiating for a possible settlement with Garfield County.Court officials said the case will be replaced on the calendar April 4 if a settlement has not been negotiated by that time.
The court was scheduled to hear motions to suppress evidence in the civil case that were filed by Bowman's attorney, Marcus Taylor. Taylor claims illegal search and seizure procedures occurred in connection with Bowman's arrest, and that a drug offender, who had been in jail, was granted leniency in exchange for "roaming around the county" looking for evidence.
Further, Taylor claims that authorities transported the drug offender to and released him on Bowman's property.
Officers obtained a warrant, seized the marijuana plants and filed criminal charges as well as the civil suit, attaching part of Bowman's property. Officers won't name their informant but say he came to them with the report of the marijuana plants. Taylor has also filed a motion to force the county to reveal the informant's name.
Bowman was arrested July 27 after authorities say they found 66 marijuana plants growing on part of his 160-acre ranch in the Calf Creek area between Boulder and Escalante, both in Garfield County.
He is also scheduled to stand trail June 10 and 11 on three drug-related criminal felony charges. In addition, he is facing a problem with the Utah State Tax Commission.
The Utah Legislature passed a law that requires drug traffickers to place a drug stamp on contraband. The tax commission is demanding $30,000 because Bowman did not use the stamp.
In connection with civil aspects of the case, Taylor claims that county efforts to seize Bowman's property is a "land grab." County attorney Wallace Lee strongly disputed this. While admitting the state law allowing forfeiture of property used in connection with illegal drug activities is a strong measure, he said strong penalties are needed to combat the drug problem.
The case is also creating interest between environmental and economic development groups because Bowman's property is located on Calf Creek near U-12, a principal access point for hikers and backpackers into scenic Escalante Canyon.
In 1986 Bowman requested and was granted a zoning change on 40 acres of his property. The request was granted by the Garfield County Commission and the property was rezoned from agricultural to commercial. In 1989 Bowman showed plans to the county's building inspector for a commercial development.
Now on file at county offices, the plans indicate that Bowman wanted to develop a trading post, gift shop, restaurant and parking lot.
Bowman moved to southern Utah in 1977 from Carmel, Calif., where he reportedly worked as a designer, builder, sculptor and painter.