Just west of Tierra Verde Golf Course in Arlington, there's a sustainable farm called the Garden of Eden. It's a 3-and-a-half-acre property where a hodgepodge of farmers, thinkers and drifters live off the land. As you may recall, Arlington police raided the farm on August 2, 2013, looking for an extensive marijuana enterprise.
And although they found only weeds, the City of Arlington slapped property owner Shellie Smith with a laundry list of code violations, resulting in fines of about $4,000. For its part, the city still won't release documents explaining why it erroneously believed the property was a drug empire.
Arlington just wants Shellie Smith to write a check for code violations and forget the whole armed SWAT team invasion.
Arlington just wants Smith to write a check and forget the whole armed SWAT team invasion. But the peaceful (albeit unusual) residents aren't paying up.
Instead Smith has opted for a jury trial, which is set for Thursday, March 13, at the Arlington Municipal Court.
According to a statement announcing the trial, fellow farm dwellers Inok Alrutz and Quinn Eaker will also be in attendance, along with "hundreds of supporters of the Garden of Eden."
Smith is the only named party in the suit, which alleges unclean premises, failure to keep property free and clear of weeds, nuisance outside storage, trees overhanging streets and sidewalks, faulty weather protection, hazardous wiring, and operating a business out of one's home without a permit.
"We all have a vested interest in seeing that our civil liberties are protected rather than trampled by our governments," the statement reads in part. "We are taking this opportunity to stand for many important principles and practices that we feel are essential to everyone’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, most especially holding our public servants accountable to the law just as anyone else — law makers and law enforcers should not be 'above the law.'"