A federal judge has thrown out a civil-rights suit brought by a man who said Wasatch County law officers targeted him in a failed drug investigation because he is Hispanic.
Sheriff's deputies arrested Ronald Molina at his Heber City home on Sept. 6, 1994, and seized his property after confidential informants allegedly bought cocaine at the home, according to court records.Wasatch County Attorney Dan Matthews later dropped the charges against Molina and dismissed a forfeiture action after realizing that Utah law allows such forfeitures only when the value of seized drugs exceeds $1,000.
Molina sued Sheriff Mike Spanos, three investigators and Wasatch County, alleging their actions were racially motivated.
However, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball dismissed the suit, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
"It would be the purest speculation on this record to assume that the defendants were acting with racial discriminatory animus towards the plaintiff," Kimball said. "There is no evidence in the record that shows the (officers) were even aware that the plaintiff is of Hispanic descent."
Molina, who now lives in Miami, Fla., said he intends to appeal the judge's ruling.