Court Strips Immunity From Sheriff's Office That Raided Hobby Gardener's Home Over Tea Leaves

from the controlled-vegetables dept

Early last year, a federal court granted immunity to a sheriff's office that raided someone's house based on nothing more than faulty field drug tests and an officer witnessing a resident buying gardening supplies seven months earlier. This is the short version of what went down that day, via the Washington Post.

The family was held at gunpoint for more than two hours while the police searched their home. Though they claimed to be looking for evidence of a major marijuana growing operation, they later stated that they knew within about 20 minutes that they wouldn’t find any such operation. So they switched to search for evidence of “personal use.” They found no evidence of any criminal activity.

The whole ordeal lasted two-and-a-half hours. Robert and Addie Harte, along with their children, were held at gunpoint for most of it. The supposed probable cause were tea leaves pulled from the Hartes' trash, which supposedly tested positive for marijuana. There was no follow-up lab test. The gardening supplies were… well, gardening supplies. Robert Harte was a stay-at-home dad who liked gardening.

This hobby is what brought law enforcement to the Hartes' house in the first place. A state trooper with nothing better to do spent a few hours every day sitting in a local gardening store's parking lot writing down descriptions of shoppers and logging their license plates.

The story behind it is detailed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision [PDF]. It shows the lead-up to the raid was just as much a fiasco as the raid itself. And it opens with a blistering take on the sheriff's actions.

Law-abiding tea drinkers and gardeners beware: One visit to a garden store and some loose tea leaves in your trash may subject you to an early-morning, SWAT-style raid, complete with battering ram, bulletproof vests, and assault rifles. Perhaps the officers will intentionally conduct the terrifying raid while your children are home, and keep the entire family under armed guard for two and a half hours while concerned residents of your quiet, family-oriented neighborhood wonder what nefarious crime you have committed. This is neither hyperbole nor metaphor—it is precisely what happened to the Harte family in the case before us on appeal.

Then it goes further:

The defendants in this case caused an unjustified governmental intrusion into the Harte's’ home based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt. The Fourth Amendment does not condone this conduct, and neither can I.

That's the defendants' qualified immunity being stripped away. The lower court excused the officers' behavior, saying they acted in good faith by relying on field tests with a 70% failure rate when obtaining a warrant. The Appeals Court is unwilling to grant these officers the benefit of a doubt. The decision dives into the events leading up to the raid, which would be comical if they weren't so frightening.

It begins with a gardening store shopping trip and a law enforcement officer with too much time to spare.

On August 9, 2011, Robert Harte and his two children visited the Green Circle Garden Center, a garden store, where they purchased one small bag of supplies. Harte was a stay-at-home dad, attempting to grow tomatoes and other vegetables in his basement as an educational project with his 13-year-old son. Unbeknownst to Harte, Sergeant James Wingo of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was parked nearby in an unmarked car, watching the store as part of a ‘pet project.’ Wingo would often spend three or four hours per day surveilling the garden store, keeping meticulous notes on all of the customers: their sex, age, vehicle description, license plate number, and what they purchased. On this particular day, Wingo observed Harte’s visit and recorded the details in his spreadsheet.

From there it gets worse. Apparently, the local sheriff's office liked to conduct raids on 4/20 with its annual "Operation Constant Gardener." Occasionally, these raids resulted in the shutdown of grow operations. The previous year, however, was mostly remembered for the raid of a tomato growing operation. So, with April 20th only a few weeks away, the sheriff was desperate to bury the embarrassing past with new raids and drug busts. Unfortunately, the office really didn't have any solid leads.

Enter Trooper Wingo and his freelance spreadsheet. Wingo didn't really have any leads either, but he did have a list of plate numbers to choose from. Somehow, the Hartes were picked out of the Excel lineup, even though the observed purchase had occurred seven months prior. A lack of leads and cooperating law enforcement agencies wasn't enough to slow the sheriff's roll. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) put together plans for a victorious press conference. Only after that did it decide to tackle the problem of securing wins.

The JCSO needed some probable cause. So it conducted three trash pulls. It did not, however, take a closer look at its intended "suspects." If it had, it might have saved itself from this lawsuit.

Despite believing the Hartes had a marijuana grow operation somewhere in their home, the JCSO did not conduct surveillance, check utility records, look for fans or other alterations typically used to conceal grow operations, or notice the tomato garden readily visible through a front-facing basement window. There is also no evidence, aside from the apparent discovery of a traffic ticket, that anyone at the JCSO even conducted a background check on the Harte family. If they had, the record tells us that they would have learned that Robert and Adlynn Harte were both former CIA employees with the highest level of security clearance; Mrs. Harte worked as an attorney at Waddell and Reed Financial and was a graduate of the Leawood Citizens Police Academy; her brother was also an attorney, formerly for the Navy JAG Corps, and an ex-New York City police officer trainee; the Hartes had a son in seventh grade and a daughter in kindergarten; and they had no criminal record other than the aforementioned undesignated traffic ticket.

The first trash pull found wet leaves that were determined to be unsuspicious. Unfortunately, April 20th was getting closer and the JCSO still had no suspects. So, the trash was searched again. Again, wet leaves were found, but this time an officer decided they were suspicious. A field test performed on April 10th said it was marijuana. No photographic record of this field test was kept, even though it was standard procedure. A third trash pull was conducted on April 17th. Again, the officers claimed the test said the leaves were marijuana, even though again no one bothered to document the test results.

The rush to find a 4/20-worthy perp meant even more omitted steps.

With nothing more than Harte’s one trip to the garden store over eight months earlier and two allegedly positive field tests, the JCSO went straight for a search warrant. The directions for use of the test clearly provide “that these tests are only presumptive in nature” and “will give you probable cause to take the sample in to a qualified crime laboratory for definitive analysis.” Officers opted against sending the vegetation to a lab for confirmation, despite having the ability to do so. Had the officers taken that extra step, they would have saved the Hartes a traumatic and invasive experience and themselves the embarrassment of a botched investigation. The “marijuana,” officers would soon learn, was nothing more than loose-leaf Teavana tea.

The sheriff sent seven officers in SWAT gear to perform a 7:30 am raid on the Harte's house. The officers spent almost three hours trying to justify the raid. No one involved showed any concern for the Harte's children and even sent away a neighbor who offered to watch them during the search. The sheriff's office was unable to cancel its planned press conference, so it went live with footage of the raid and the claim marijuana plants were discovered.

The court examines all the events and finds it plausible the officers who field tested the trash pull lied about the field test results. At bare minimum, they concealed the nature of the tests (and their 70% failure rate) when applying for a warrant.

The record evidence before us creates a triable issue of fact on whether Burns and Blake lied about having conducted the field tests, or about having obtained “positive” results. The only evidence that the field tests were conducted is the deputies’ own testimony and representations in the warrant affidavit; there is no photographic evidence, despite Blake’s testimony that he had a camera in hand at the time. The Hartes have presented sufficient evidence to cast doubt on the veracity of the deputies’ statements. And while the term “positive” is used by the law enforcement witnesses throughout the record, the test upon which they seek to rely clearly precludes such a conclusion. The face of the package patently provides, “these tests are only presumptive in nature” and “will give you probable cause to take the sample in to a qualified crime laboratory for definitive analysis.”

[...]

Furthermore, the plant matter found on April 10 and 17 was similar to the material collected on April 3. Yet on April 3, it was identified as innocent plant material and discarded without testing. As the April 20 deadline approached, however, it is notable that the officers determined that this previously innocuous material was now suspicious and should be tested for the presence of marijuana. A jury could certainly infer the reason for this about-face was pressure to meet an arbitrary April 20 deadline for manufacturing probable cause.

The court also points out the JCSO was its own worst enemy, willing to sacrifice Constitutional rights on the altar of publicity.

Defendants were quite candid about the selection of April 20 as a publicity stunt. Emails sent following the 2011 operation discussed ideas for the following year, including “a telethon type billboard with a large green marijuana plant filling up as the pledges come in, making T-Shirts and whatnot.” This is too rich for fiction. Messaging about the purpose of the raids was imbued with theatrics: Wingo noted one agency’s observation that the raids would make “4/20 . . . something to fear rather than something to celebrate”; and the JCSO’s 2012 press release framed the raids as law enforcement’s “celebrat[ion] [of] this so-called [marijuana] holiday.” Moreover, the JCSO began planning the press conference and drafting public statements touting their success long before officers had even established probable cause to conduct the raids. Adding to the pressure of the 4/20 deadline, the success of this publicity stunt depended on a limited pool of “suspects” from Wingo’s garden store surveillance. Wingo himself stated that he did not have enough new contacts to justify a 2012 operation, but Reddin was determined to “at least mak[e] a day of it.” The record is mute about a legitimate, law-enforcement rationale for requiring the raids to be conducted on that date.

And, just in case the JCSO defendants think they have room for argument with "good faith" assertions, the decision delivers this blunt assessment of the incident.

There was no probable cause at any step of the investigation. Not at the garden shop, not at the gathering of the tea leaves, and certainly not at the analytical stage when the officers willfully ignored directions to submit any presumed results to a laboratory for analysis. Full stop.

And any arguments that the Sheriff's Office should be allowed to call field drug tests "probable cause" is shot down here:

One study found a 70% false positive rate using this field test, with positive results obtained from substances including vanilla, peppermint, ginger, eucalyptus, cinnamon leaf, basil, thyme, lemon grass, lavender, organic oregano, organic spearmint, organic clove, patchouli, ginseng, a strip of newspaper, and even air. As demonstrated by this litigation, caffeine may now be added to that list. A 70% false positive rate obviously flunks the reliability test.

[...]

By failing to ensure the reliability of the field tests used by the deputies in this case, and by not requiring lab confirmation as a prerequisite for seeking a search warrant, Sheriff Denning and the JCSO allowed deputies to base probable cause on largely inaccurate information. The constitutional violations in this case can be directly attributed to that policy.

A hobbyist, junk science, and a press-hungry sheriff's office all combined to stage a dramatic raid of hobby gardeners. No amount of "good faith" can salvage that.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 1:03pm

    I guess he forgot he had a crime lab...

    [Sheriff Frank Denning] cites the building of the county’s state-of-the-art criminalistics lab as a high point in his tenure. “It’s our flagship,” he said. The lab has been nationally and internationally recognized and its services are sought by many other agencies, Denning said. “That is one of my prouder moments,” he said.

    On his retirement:

    “There’s a lot to be said about getting a new set of eyes, a different approach or a different philosophy,” he said.

    Kansas City Star (Jan. 5, 2016). Yes, yes there is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coogan (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 1:52pm

    >A 70% false positive rate obviously flunks the reliability test.

    On the other hand, the judge's bullshit detector is pinging off the charts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Machin Shin, 28 Jul 2017 @ 1:56pm

    "positive results obtained from substances including vanilla, peppermint, ginger, eucalyptus, cinnamon leaf, basil, thyme, lemon grass, lavender, organic oregano, organic spearmint, organic clove, patchouli, ginseng"

    Almost makes you wonder, was this test made after someone went in a lab and asked "Hey man... can you make me something to test for some good herb?"

    Seems like it will give a positive result for just about everything out of a herb garden.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 28 Jul 2017 @ 1:56pm

    A 70% false positive rate obviously flunks the reliability test.

    You'd think well-trained professionals, like all law-enforcement personnel are, would know that their testing must be at least 51% reliable according to the Supreme Court.

    All they had to do was document their own training and testing and as long as it shows 51% or better accuracy then they're golden.

    At least that's the way it works with the sniffer-dogs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      Sniffer dogs have never been 51% or greater. In double blind studies...... that is right, there are none since they would destroy the credibility of the rights violating dog dowsers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        streetlight (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re:

        Sniffer dogs are trained to respond to their handler's signals. They can be made to point 100% of the time in response to such a signal and planted evidence can be found.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Peter, 28 Jul 2017 @ 4:05pm

      Re:

      They obviously need a more reliable field kit that detects drugs 100% of the time!"

      (now go back and read it again)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 5:24pm

        Re: Re:

        The field test is what it is. But since what it is, is a test that fails often, it should NOT be used to justify a raid on someone's home. It should be used as directed - which is determining whether to bother to send those leaves you found in the garbage to a REAL crime lab for accurate testing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 5:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...whether to bother to send those leaves you found in the garbage to a REAL crime lab for accurate testing.

          Maybe 2 or 3 as there are issues with them as well.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Discuss It (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 8:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It should be used as directed - which is determining whether to bother to send those leaves you found in the garbage to a REAL crime lab for accurate testing.

          Or you could flip a coin, which will be wrong 50% the time instead of these tests being wrong 70% of the time.

          Plus you can reuse the coin.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Justme, 30 Jul 2017 @ 5:33pm

            Re: Flip a Coin

            Flipping a coin would be 50/50 only if suspects were picked at random, as opposed to officers experience, intuition and training.

            So actually flipping a coin would be a good way to quantify the often touted gut feeling officers use to justify a lot of unjust behavior.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 2:49am

      Re:

      The definition of probable cause is that a given person is more likely than not to have committed a crime, is currently committing a crime or is about to commit a crime unless prevented from doing so.

      More likely than not is effectively a 50.01% chance of a criminal act. But with a 70% error rate, those test kits have only a 30% chance of being right, well below the minimum standard of evidence to create probable cause.

      Flipping a coin would be more accurate, but according to the courts that is not sufficient evidence. So how is it that people can be lawfully arrested on the basis of a 30% chance when the law says an arrest requires a 50.01% chance?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 11:37am

        Re: Re:

        More likely than not is effectively a 50.01% chance of a criminal act.

        I'd say it's more like 66% to 75%. 50.01% is even odds, not more likely.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 1:58pm

    6 years and still no justice

    I think it is sad that this event occurred over half a decade ago and they are still having to fight this.... glad for the win, it definitely is a slam dunk I would have thought... but any time the boys in blue are involved... let us throw common sense out the window

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:01pm

    given the lack of justification

    Waving guns around without cause is more than enough justification for criminal charges, and I hope that they result! Also, if the municipality is (rightfully) on the hook for the civil suit, I hope that the public gets a reminder of which judge signed the warrant next election season.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:04pm

    was any action taken against the original judge? had he done his job properly and judiciously, there wouldn't have been a raid allowed in the first place! yes, the sheriffs office staff and the sheriff, obviously, need to be charged with their crimes but allowing the idiot judge to get away scot free to perform in the same way again is ridiculous!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McGyver (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:06pm

    I like this judge and the fact that he seemed to be concerned with a citizen's constitutional rights and all...
    Maybe he actually is, but I kinda started wonder about that once I read the part about the Hartes being former CIA employees and their family connection to the NYPD and Naval JAG corp.
    That kinda changes the dynamic a bit.
    Ordinary citizens probably would not have been afforded that effort.
    Perhaps, but more likely not.
    Seems more like a case of a small police department messing with the wrong people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 7:00pm

      Re:

      Maybe you might like that judge, but ... the other two?

      The article above links to an earlier Balko blog post, but not to the current one

      The family was granted leave to proceed on only one out of quite a number of causes. And that was because one of the judges (who otherwise voted down the line that "there was no clearly established precedent") flipped the other way on only that one argument.

      One is better than none, granted. But judges IMO rely overmuch on a very narrow "someone has to have done (bad thing X) before and been benchslapped for it".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:12pm

    Next on CSI...

    Look at that marvelous field kit that detects drugs with 100% accuracy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:14pm

    Sheriff's Office That Raided Hobby Gardener's Home Over Tea Leaves

    Anyone else see this and imagine Professor Trelawney consulting for the Sherrif's department, helping them find people to raid?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 3:51pm

      Re:

      Nah, Professor Trelawney would have been more accurate than the sheriff's department and their field "test" kits.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:15pm

    Narrow Victory

    They almost did not win this case. The piece I read this morning at fourthamendment.com tells a story about now each of the three appellate judges ruled. It is not pretty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 2:32pm

    The war on drugs is the crown jewel of failed policy, wasted money and destroyed lives and, finally, a highly successful direct assault on almost every codified right that you have(had).

    It simply needs to end punctuation period

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2017 @ 2:27am

      Re:

      "Failed"? The "War on Drugs" has allowed nearly unrivaled gains in government authority to act with impunity, deploy increasingly militarized force measures, increase the profits for the prison industry, and seize almost without challenge vast quantities of loot. Additionally, the scare-tactic propaganda that keeps the majority of citizens agitated to believe these practices are wholesome and necessary, coupled with the panoply of pseudo-scientific tools that are rarely successfully challenged, ensure that the goal-line can be moved as often as needed to keep the show on the road. How is this "failed"?

      Oh, you meant like Constitutionally and for citizens.

      Never mind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 28 Jul 2017 @ 3:15pm

    Harte to Harte

    If they had, the record tells us that they would have learned that Robert and Adlynn Harte were both former CIA employees with the highest level of security clearance; Mrs. Harte worked as an attorney at Waddell and Reed Financial and was a graduate of the Leawood Citizens Police Academy; her brother was also an attorney, formerly for the Navy JAG Corps, and an ex-New York City police officer trainee; the Hartes had a son in seventh grade and a daughter in kindergarten; and they had no criminal record other than the aforementioned undesignated traffic ticket.

    What happens when the victims of similar police raids are not as well credentialed as the Harte family?

    What happens when the victims of similar police raids are poor and do not have the financial wherewithal to purchase quality legal representation (as is clearly the case for the well credentialed Harte family)?

    Unfortunately as all to frequently occurs with these types of police raids they are often conducted against societies most vulnerable persons. Those who are more times than not completely voiceless in the courts.

    What these types of dissimilar outcomes in the courts expose for all to see is the arbitrariness of the so-called justice system in the US as there are at the very least three separate and distinct systems of justice - one system for the well credentialed/affluent another system for the mundane/indigent and another where justice is smothered in a pitch-dark room by a blanket of national security exemptions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Jul 2017 @ 3:41pm

    "We WILL be successful, we've already ordered the party supplies!"

    Moreover, the JCSO began planning the press conference and drafting public statements touting their success long before officers had even established probable cause to conduct the raids.

    The fact that they had already planned out a press conference to tout how successful the program was should have been all that was needed to tank their case as demonstrating that they had determined ahead of time that they would find someone guilty.

    Their actions before and during the raid made it crystal clear that they were determined to find someone, anyone they could drag through the coals and then hold up as a 'criminal' in order to show how 'successful' the program was, no matter what it took or how pathetic the 'evidence' used to justify it was.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vic, 28 Jul 2017 @ 4:09pm

    Not hinting at anything, ... April 20 is Hitler's birthday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2017 @ 6:52pm

    ...the decision delivers this blunt assessment of the incident.

    I thought they detetmined it to be a lack of blunts in this incident.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    coward (anon), 28 Jul 2017 @ 10:43pm

    Wet plant material

    Why did the officers even think the wet plant material was pot? Not that I know a lot about pot, but I thought one smoked it, not drowned it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2017 @ 2:14am

    I hope this family gets at least 50million or more AND the officers and sheriff are prosecuted for malicious behaviour and get a few years in jail....without parole.


    Mentally scarred husband and wife, and god KNOWS what this did to the children's trust in law enforcement.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 6:20am

    I still can't imagine that none of these idiots did not bother to smell this plant material. The smell of both plants is highly recognizable and mutually dissimilar. But given all the behavior, it's like they knew they had nothing, but just wanted to ruin some lives. I don't know how the most rabid, true-believing morons in a hurry could convince themselves they really had something here.

    Glad to see it finally turned out this way. And this is another ruling with some born-to-be-classic verbiage in it. I don't know how judges who are actually good at being judges, and decent human beings, maintain a professional demeanor when dealing with this kind of crap. I'd be standing there laughing my ass off, saying "my god you are so full of shit", and "you are in contempt of reality, 60 days for you while i think of what else i can do".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 29 Jul 2017 @ 7:00am

    Constitutional Rights

    What gets me is... over the last few decades "no-knock" and breaking down doors seems to have become the norm. Whatever happened to knocking on the door, serving the warrant, and walking in? A grow-op by definition is not flushable. They presented no evidence (or discuss none) of the risk of firearms in the house. Certainly if they'd found some, it would have been evidence too.

    So why is it standard now that the police simply invade a house without warning as a standard procedure? How did this encroachment on civil liberties happen without significant push-back?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 8:11am

      Re: Constitutional Rights

      We might start with decades of politicians running a 'tough on crime' campaign.

      We might continue with a decades old 'war on drugs' which is NOT being won, and a certain amount of embarrassment that comes with that.

      Then there is the not codified concept of 'good faith' that police always tell the truth, even if the video evidence suggests otherwise.

      And, to finish this list, but not all the causes of your question, the 'reasonably scared cop' rule, where the cops have an overwhelming need to go home for dinner, but suspects do not, contrary to the constitution and where no court wants to establish precedent in this area.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McFortner (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 7:15am

    So what's next, ID checks at WalMart's Garden Centers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2017 @ 7:56am

    I finished watching a whole season of a show called 'Southern Justice.' The leading police officers were neckless tub bellies looking for attention and little physical work. They literally preyed on the weakest people in their community, even going so far as to stalk their victims for the cameras.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    res (profile), 29 Jul 2017 @ 12:44pm

    Testing cops

    They should send the cops in for testing to see if they are real cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2017 @ 8:45pm

    I would like to note that a 70% false positive rate says nothing about the rate of false negatives. It's not a 30% success rate, guys. It just goes off 70% of the time for not-marijuana substances. Which still sucks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:59am

    Profiling gone mad

    "A state trooper with nothing better to do spent a few hours every day sitting in a local gardening store's parking lot writing down descriptions of shoppers and logging their license plates."

    Why? What the hell's so special about gardening suppliers? Are these goons hanging outside other retailers, like automotive shops, pet suppliers, grocers, haberdasheries...? It's insane.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 6:39am

      Re: Profiling gone mad

      If you're going to grow marijuana, you're going to need supplies to do it with, and many of those supplies are most readily available at a garden-supply store.

      None of the other types of retailer which you list (with the possible exception of grocers, if you stretch the point far enough to be obviously ridiculous before any but the most biased judge) sell materials which are essential to setting up a successful marijuana grow operation.

      It's a tenuous connection, but that's the basis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 9:10am

    Let me get this straight. Are you telling me, the Police can't tell the difference from Marijuana and tea leaves? Let alone that someone would throw away perfectly good Marijuana instead of smoking it which ends up as ash. Not Tea leaves?

    I know so many of the police are just dumb and the lies that flow out of their mouths are great. But who else could believe any of this crap? Well I guess the original Judge that allowed this to happen in the first place? I assumed just signed off and didn't read anything and just assumed as always the police were doing things correctly.

    You watch the police on youtube, they flat out lie all the time. They like to make up laws that don't exist. Anything to get you to do what they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.