By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Her criminal case is on hold until the Arizona Court of Appeals rules. And now there's the matter of her civil suit.
Last September, noted Phoenix attorney Richard Treon and his associate Mike DePoli filed the suit against several law enforcement agencies, including PANT, on behalf of Ronda Crace and Robert Christian.
The suit alleges PANT "set into motion a series of unnecessary and uncalled-for events that blackened the names of Crace and Christian, and held them up before the community as pariahs to be shunned and avoided."
If her health holds up, Crace plans to visit Arizona during the next school year to talk with more teens and to do what she must in the legal arena. Crace's critical T-cell count is still in the safe area; she says she feels well most of the time. But she says she's aware that, short of a cure, she'll be bedridden with AIDS someday.
It is then, Crace says without a trace of self-pity, that she'll pull out the letters dozens of teenagers have written her.
"No matter what," she says, "I'll be able to remember how the kids rushed up to me and hugged me and made me feel good. Talking to them has kept me alive."
@body:A plainclothes narcotics officer wearing a POLICE jacket hollers into a home: "Police! Search warrant!" Guns drawn, the PANT team breaks through the front door and hits the mother lode.
What appears to be marijuana sits in a large pile on a kitchen table, next to a replica of a human skull. The narcs put a man and a woman in handcuffs and lead them away in disgrace.
Pan to a corner of the room, where two cute little children are crying. "Mama, mama," one is wailing. A PANT officer bends down to tend to the sobbing child.
An announcer intones over the scene, "PANT has been responsible for 1,800 drug arrests and for removing over $12 million of drugs from our streets."
A Prescott television station has been running this public-service announcement for a few months.
"Remember," the announcer concludes, "these people not only hurt themselves, but everyone around them.