Even though the public attitude on marijuana seems to be swinging towards reason, our laws and our law enforcement agencies are still treating the cultivation and possession of grass as a heinous offense. I was one of three attorneys representing a family of 3 that had been caught growing some kind bud in the garage.
The family was Cuban and spoke little to no English. The Sheriff’s Office had been following up on a cold tip that a wanted gang-banger was living in the house where our Latino Farmers had moved in and they went to check it out. After convincing the head-of-household that the arrest warrant gave them the right to search the house, they found the plants and charged husband, wife and teen son with trafficking in drugs, a crime that carries minimum mandatory prison sentences for all involved.
Even though the gangster hadn’t lived at that address for several years, the cops did their best to convince us that it was a hot tip and they had good reason to believe that he was in there.
Between the 3 of us legal types, we dug up enough police department and sheriff office internal communications to show that, not only was there no reason to believe he was there, but law enforcement knew he was not there. The judge threw out all the evidence, finding that the cops coerced the man to agree to the search and that they had no reason to believe the bad guy was there.