"A Leawood (Kansas) couple says heavily armed Johnson County deputies barged into their home last year, turning it upside down and detaining them and their children for more than two hours in a fruitless search for marijuana."
"...And all because the couple, Robert and Adlynn Harte, brought indoor gardening equipment to grow a small number of tomato and squash plants in their basement, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The equipment was never used for marijuana, the couple says, and no one in the family has ever used illegal drugs.
Nearly a year after the SWAT-style raid, the Hartes still don't know what evidence deputies used to persuade a judge to grant a warrant to search their home...Their requests for records that could provide such information have been denied by the sheriff's office."
|*Not the grow in question...just a cool image|
There are not many details in the article, because as it says, the family has not received notice of the probable cause that supported the search warrant. It does indicate that the Sheriff's Department staked out a local store that sells hydroponic equipment, and possibly matched it with utility records that indicated...the family was using water and electricity in the house!
While this is troubling for the family (until the apology check comes) its probably good in the long run, as the judge, and the Sheriff's Department will go through (hopefully) a little review of the United States Constitution. I have come across many police officers, sheriff's deputies, etc., who are shocked to hear that the supreme law of the land...is not the local prosecutor's office.
Further - read the article - if there was a pounding on my door early in the morning, I'd likely be coming out of my room heavily (and legally) armed. Things would have went bad for that entry team, as I'm a light sleeper (and there are people out there who may not like me). It would not be good for anybody involved. But I live in a 'small town,' and people know who I am...but not smaller than Leawood, Kansas.
This begs several questions - what were the tomatoes and alleged squash used for? Did the residents have a license to grow non-government food in their basement? Where is the FDA when we need them? Did they sell them at market prices? Are these fruit, or vegetables? One thing's for sure...we're not in Kansas anymore!
Having worked for a prosecutor's office, I had to remind people continually that we were prosecutors, not PERSECUTORS.
And Race - how often have you heard of law enforcement hitting the wrong house (despite a clear description in the S/W affidavit)? I used to remind people that if they hit my house by mistake there would be a real problem for both of us.
There is no way that the court can seal a search warrant affidavit in support of the warrant in a situation like that. I would expect that the check from the City and County and State if it was a state attorney's office that authorized the warrant would be substantial and would serve to remind them of the difference between prosecution and persecution.
I don't care what they say. Tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit. Don't even try to put it on my fruit salad.
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This is shameless, They're giving pot growers a bad name.
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