Kansas Supreme Court Gives Cops Immense Power
Article from Reason by Jacob Sullum.
Five years ago the U.S. Supreme Court refused to endorse a principle that could have allowed any cop with a dog to search any home. The court ruled that deploying a drug-detecting canine at the doorstep of a suspected marijuana grower’s house in the hope of obtaining probable cause for a warrant (which requires nothing more than a claim that the dog “alerted”) itself constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.
But what if a cop without a dog claims his own nose detects marijuana inside a home? In that case, the Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled, the alleged odor provides probable cause for a search, which the cop can execute without waiting for a warrant if he says he was afraid the contraband he thought he smelled might be hidden or destroyed in the interim. In practice, the 4-to-3 decision, issued on December 7, gives police carte blanche to search any home at will.
If you doubt that characterization, consider the dubiousness of the odor that supposedly justified a search of Lawrence Hubbard’s apartment. Lawrence, Kansas, police officer Kimberly Nicholson followed Hubbard home after mistaking him for someone with an arrest warrant. As Hubbard exited his apartment to clear up the misunderstanding, Nicholson testified, she “smelled a strong odor of raw marijuana emanating from the apartment.” She claimed she was standing about two feet from the front door, while Hubbard said it was more like six or seven feet.
What police ultimately discovered was 25 grams (less than an ounce) of marijuana, which was inside a sealed plastic container, inside a locked safe, inside a bedroom closet about 30 feet from where Nicholson was standing. The cops also found “a small amount of marijuana on a partially burnt cigarillo in the living room,” which would have smelled like burntmarijuana, not “raw marijuana” (by which Nicholson presumably meant cured marijuana, as opposed to growing or freshly harvested plants). Another officer, Ronald Ivener, nevertheless testified that he also smelled “raw marijuana” while standing outside the apartment, an odor he described as “potent” and “overwhelming.”
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sure sounds like, “Unlawful Search and Seizure” to me. This female officer was looking to make herself a name.
Look at the power to destroy the 4th Amendment given to game wardens if you really want your panties in a wad.
Moral of the story, don’t smoke or keep illegal dopey marijuana in your home. Illegal drug use in your home is illegal and criminal. You are the market for the drug lords criminal dealers. You pollute society and need to be punished. If You don’t like Kansas and its LAW, then leave move to the lands of fruits, nuts, and criminals!
About time the courts sided with the police. Now lock the drug dealers up
Finally a State with a “pair”, now maybe some of the other pansy’s around the nation, (except of course, California), will wake up and smell the coffee(?), and expose themselves to be real men.
Actually, having searched and found marijuana in my line of work, I can tell you and all unbelievers that it is an identifiable odor and can be easily detected. Unsmoked marijuana is a bit more difficult, but the burnt product , even a very small ash can easily be detected. I’ve also found that in general, women’s ability to smell is quite often more acute than men’s. So to me, the officer is not in the least exaggerating as to what occurred. In spite of the recent efforts to legalize it’s use, marijuana is an addictive drug, and it’s end effects are a profound if not more profound than tobacco in so far as damage to the human body and or mind!