WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

PROBABLE CAUSE: TEA AND SHOPPING

Probable cause. Ahh....the  holy grail of criminal law. Thousands, probably tens of thousands of cases have discussed what it is and what it isn't. 

This probable cause journey is reported in the Washington Post here. 

Robert Harte a former CIA analyst and his grade school son went shopping at a gardening store for hydroponics to grow tomatoes for the young boy's school project. Big brother in the form of an officer in the parking lot recording plates of people who made "suspicious" buys at the gardening store, was watching. Harte's license plate was recorded. 

Lesson one: avoid gardening stores in the USA. 

For six months operation "Constant Gardner" (we are not making this up) did trash pulls of the Harte's trash at their suburban home in Kansas. They found suspicious "saturated plant material" in the garbage. Possible cannabis?  (Cue ominous  music).  But in fact Mrs. Harte likes to drink tea she brews herself. 

Lesson two: stick to coffee in the USA. Coffee grounds are not mistaken for marijuana. 

The loose plant material tested (falsely) for THC. Further tests of the THC test the police used showed that it gave false positives for sage, chocolate chip cookies, soap, deodorant, breath mints, Jolly Rogers, and tortilla dough. 
The article is worth a read just on the tests proving the unreliability of field tests. They aren't worth the tortilla dough they are testing. 

Lesson three: Avoid the munchies where you make cookies and tortillas and then have some Jolly Rogers and a breath mint. It's a meal loaded with trouble with a capital T like the T in THC. 

On April 20, (4/20- get it? The police in Kansas like to do Marijuana raids on 42) SWAT hit the Harte home: "Drop the tea and cookies and breath mints and step away from the soap and deodorant and put your hands in the air!!'

When the dust settled and it was clear the Harte's were innocent they sued. 

Last week US District Judge John Lungstrum dismissed their complaints, finding the police had probable cause. 

Lesson Four: eating a ham sandwich in the United States in a manner that arouses the suspicions of a law enforcement officer is probable cause in the USA circa 2015. 

Let's review- shopping for gardening supplies and drinking tea is probable cause. 
Pardon us while we hang our head in shame. We're doomed. 

See You In Court. 

9 comments:

The Professor said...

The ultimate sadness is that SCOTUS, if the plaintiffs appealed and got that far, would deny cert. One only has to look to last term's Heinen v. North Carolina to know that the majority will do all it can to excuse mistakes by the police, even though their actions are beyond description as an "over-reach."

Fake Scalia. said...

Appeal. I want a piece of this.

Not JAI much longer said...

PC sounds like a lot of work. Why not just bug/track their phones and park a drone overhead.

Real Fake Former Judge said...

But what about my decision in. State v sanchez in which I held that shopping for tomatoes is not PC for cooking an Italian meal? This was while I served on the prestigious Hialeah bench. Look it up. Why didn't they cite that ?

Anonymous said...

Real Kenny seen eating a power lunch with power brokers at Biscayne Tavern on Us 1 downtown.

Anonymous said...

I heard a guy went crazy at the last Saturday bond hearings and told Mindy Glazer to "suck my dick."

Unlike Chomat, she kept her cool.

Anonymous said...

Scalia would DESTROY that police department.

Shame he will likely die or retire in the next 8 years and Hillary will replace him with a Transgender person of color who will rule that police have PC to arrest for hate speech on college campuses when anyone questions progressivism, and that the burden of proving rape should be lowered to preponderance.

Anonymous said...

OMG I came back to Miami and this blog is still in existence. Please shut it down. Please. Anything- watching goldfish swim is better than this crap.

But other than that, keep up the good work. I read it every day.

Big fan. Big fan.

The Professor said...

3:14 - As usual off topic and wrong on the law. Scalia would not "destroy" that department. He would affirm the dismissal based upon Caballes, Place, Rodriquez, Harris, Jardines and Heinen. I can smell your breath all the way over here, because you are talking out of your ass again,