Marlowe motion: Polk sheriff’s officers induced informant to lie

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, June 19, 2008

A motion has been filed in the Steve Marlowe marijuana case stating the informant was induced by Polk County sheriff&squo;s officers to lie about having seen plants in Marlowe&squo;s home.

Marlowe&squo;s attorney, Ben Scales of Asheville, filed a motion to suppress evidence, claiming that the informant,&bsp; Charles Grady Shehan Jr., used by the sheriff&squo;s office to obtain a search warrant, was pressured by sheriff&squo;s officers to make the false claims.

Marlowe, 59, of Mill Spring was arrested and charged&bsp; in November, 2007 with possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for the use or sale of marijuana and manufacturing marijuana.

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The motions filed are to be heard in Polk County Superior Court beginning next Monday.

&dquo;In his affadavit, Lt. (Matt) Prince relied entirely on the eyewitness testimony of a &squo;confidential reliable informant,&squo; whom the state has disclosed is Grady Shehan,&dquo; the motion states. &dquo;Mr. Shehan, it is alleged, visited Defendant&squo;s residence just prior to the issuance of the warrant and saw marijuana plants growing and other contraband therein. Defendant will show that by Grady Shehan&squo;s own admission, he was never inside defendant&squo;s residence, and has not been inside that dwelling in at least eight years, but that he was induced by Lts. (Trent) Carswell and Prince and others to make and sign a false statement that he had seen illegal activity occurring in defendant&squo;s residence.&dquo;

A videotape has also been placed in Marlowe&squo;s file as evidence of Grady Shehan claiming he was made to sign the false statement by the sheriff&squo;s office.

&dquo;On or about February 18, 2008, during the week the grand jury was in session, Grady Shehan called defendant, and spoke with him for the first time in a number of years,&dquo; states the motion. &dquo;In the conversation, Grady told defendant that the sheriff&squo;s deputies were pressuring him to testify against defendant before the grand jury, but that he was refusing, because the deputies were asking him to lie.&dquo;

&dquo;Grady told defendant that the deputies were threatening him and harassing him on a near daily basis, and he asked defendant if he could help Grady end the harassment.&dquo;

Jean Marlowe, the defendant&squo;s ex-wife, also included an affidavit saying she asked Shehan to repeat those statements on videotape and Shehan agreed.

Jean Marlowe went to Shehan&squo;s house, but Shehan told her it was not safe for him to talk there because deputies were keeping him under tight surveillance and they would be angry if they knew he was talking to Jean Marlowe.

&dquo;When we got to the campground, Grady told me that the sheriff&squo;s department had been trying for over a year to get him to provide them with incriminating evidence against Steve,&dquo; says Jean Marlowe&squo;s affadavit. &dquo;Grady said that in November, 2007, he got into some trouble and was arrested on several drug charges. Grady said that the arresting deputies, including Lts. Carswell, Prince and (Juan) Hernandez, told Grady that the only way he could get out of trouble would be for Grady to testify and to sign a statement against Steve. Grady said that he told deputies that he hadn&squo;t seen Steve in seven or eight years, and that the only way he could come up with anything on Steve would be to &squo;make something up.&squo; Grady said that the deputies told him they didn&squo;t care how he got the information, so long as he gave it to them.&dquo;

Jean Marlowe&squo;s affidavit also says that Grady said when he refused to testify before the grand jury, the deputies told him that they would send him to jail for ten years for perjury if he didn&squo;t testify against Steve.

Steve and Jean Marlowe are both advocates of medical marijuana. Steve Marlowe said when he was first arrested that he was growing the marijuana found for persons who use the marijuana for medicinal purposes.