Couple held in handcuffs, house raided/searched because of hibiscus plants

Discussion in 'Drugs, Alcohol & Tobacco' started by kazenatsu, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A Pennsylvania couple has launched a lawsuit against local police and Nationwide Insurance after they allegedly had to sit for hours in a cop car because their hibiscus plant allegedly got mistaken for pot.

    According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, an insurance agent came to the home of Edward Cramer, 69, and his wife, Audrey Cramer, 66, in Buffalo Township in early October to investigate a report of a fallen tree.

    The homeowners allege that the agent secretly took photos of their hibiscus plants located in their backyard and forwarded them to law enforcement.

    In response, police supposedly used the images to obtain a search warrant and proceeded to raid their home, even placing Audrey Cramer in handcuffs while she was still in her underwear as officers aimed assault rifles at her.

    Her husband wasn't home when the raid initially began.

    The complaint further alleges that she was made to stand outside undressed and handcuffed for approximately 10 minutes before being placed in the back of a cop car.

    When Edward Cramer arrived, he claims he, too, had guns pointed at him as he was placed under arrest then forced to sit in the police car with his wife for over two hours while authorities allegedly ransacked their home.

    At the end of the ordeal, they were allowed to leave the car, but their hibiscus plants were confiscated.

    "I'm starting to understand why a lot of the public do not trust police officers," Audrey Cramer told WTAE. "I really feel like I've been smacked in the face with this, and no, I don't think I'll ever trust a police officer again."

    Making matters worse, less than a week later the Cramers say they received a notice from Nationwide telling them that marijuana was found on their property and if they didn't remove it, the company would cancel their policy.​

    https://www.nydailynews.com/news/na...e-hibiscus-marijuana-mix-up-article-1.3646789

    This just goes to show the type of ridiculous things that can happen because of drug laws and overzealous enforcement. These type of 'misunderstandings' are not as uncommon as people may think.


    Here's another story:

    Ryan Frederick is an amateur gardener who grows tomatoes and Japanese maple trees, which apparently look a little bit like marijuana. An informant told police there was pot growing at the residence and a warrant was issued. Frederick, who had been burglarized earlier in the week, mistook the police for thieves and sought to defend his home by firing on the unexpected intruders. Police officer Jarrod Shivers was killed.

    Law-enforcement does not take kindly to people defending their homes during mistaken drug raids. Ryan Frederick has been charged with first-degree murder on the theory that he knew the intruders were police and fired on them anyway.

    Frederick had no criminal record and no marijuana plants. The informant was just wrong. Although a few joints were found in the home, it just doesn’t make much sense to contend that Frederick would provoke a shoot-out with police over a misdemeanor. Nonetheless, he's being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and can only hope the jury understands the horrible situation he's been placed in.

    It seems pretty clear that the only reason this raid ever happened is that some idiot mistook Japanese Maple trees for marijuana. That's all it took. There are no safeguards built into the drug war to prevent this type of thing. If you call in a suspected marijuana grow, you are assumed to be a botanist capable of accurately identifying plants. Police will even risk their lives to investigate your idiotic claims.

    Prosecuting Ryan Frederick for murder will do nothing to curb the inevitable result of continuing to raid homes based on informant testimony. This is all just one more injustice stacked atop a precarious edifice. Like Cory Maye, Ryan Frederick is lucky to even be alive, which begs the question of how many dead innocent people would have been unfairly charged with attempted cop-murder if they'd been fortunate enough to even survive the raid.​

    https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/feb/04/cop_dead_because_informant_misto
    g
    (original story from the Virginia-Pilot)

    The incident took place January 17, 2008 in Chesapeake, Virginia. He was convicted in 2009, and released from prison in 2016.
    The possession of marijuana was a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for first offense.


    Why do people never think of the unintended potential consequences of these laws?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
  2. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member Donor

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    This war on drugs needs to stop. The war on guns and abortion too.
     
  3. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Incompetent application of a law doesn't make it a bad law or in itself justify not enforcing or getting rid of it. Incompetent application of any law needs addressing on that basis. The validity of any law needs addressing on it's own merits.
     
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  4. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Well, people and politicians don't give much thought to application of the law when they pass a new law.

    I don't see this as something that's going to get changed much or be fixed any time soon.
    It would just be a lot simpler to be more cautious and prudent about the type of laws we pass. Especially possession laws, that can give law enforcement an excuse to just break into somewhere with scant evidence.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  5. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The point is that the failures in these cases weren't directly related to the specific laws. The informants could have seen a mannequin and mistaken it for a dead body or some electrical equipment and mistaken it for a bomb. Any failures by the police could have happened in exactly the same way.
     
  6. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    But the more laws, the more opportunities there are for something like this to go wrong.

    As Cicero said, "The more laws, the less justice"

    I would also point out that some of these types of laws leave a lot more potential open for mistakes or abuse than other laws. At least with murder, for example, someone actually needs to be dead or missing for police to start suspecting there is a crime to investigate. Same thing with robbery, there has to be an actual crime committed before it triggers police to start investigating. That's why claiming it doesn't matter because there is the potential for something to go wrong with any law, is kind of disingenuous.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  7. Pycckia

    Pycckia Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't matter. If you think pot should be legal, make that argument.

    The bad thing here is the SWAT tactics used, not that pot is illegal.

    The cops should have just looked at the plants, apologized to the homeowners for the inconvenience and walked away.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
  8. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    That may be, but the law enforcement is always going to use bad tactics sometimes, they will make mistakes. You are not realistically going to be able to entirely eliminate that.
    Saying we should not worry about A because it would not be an issue if got rid of B, is not a valid argument, not unless you have some foolproof plan to solve B, and that plan is put into action.
    What you're talking there is idealism, not practical reality.
     
  9. Pycckia

    Pycckia Well-Known Member

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    And that argument could be used to justify killing all dogs because dogs sometimes bite people.
     
  10. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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