This is the first in an unplanned, irregularly non-scheduled series. Learning From Others’ Mistakes will use stories from the news, as they reach my attention, to illustrate principles of law which it is good to understand. We do not draw pleasure from the stupid things we see our brothers and sisters do. No, we seek to not do the same stupid things our own self.
Here’s our story:
“Some advice: If you’re running a marijuana grow house, it’s never a good idea to invite the cops in — especially if you’re cutting up your plants in the wide open. That’s what happened when a deputy called to a possible suicide visited a Key Largo man. There was no suicide — but there were, the agency says, 124 pot plants in the house.
Possible suicide? If this isn’t a bogus police made-up story, and it may not be, someone you know (and who is pissed at you) is screwing with you. But in the legal arena — the cop is on the scene lawfully, investigating something. If a law enforcement officer [LEO] is ever on the scene illegally that helps the defendant / person charged. Being there illegally may make what the cop does illegal — maybe. So, the LEO wants a good, valid reason why he is there. Here, he has one. He is investigating a possible suicide. If there really was a suicide, you wouldn’t have any problem with the LEO showing up, would you?
[Defendant] is charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of a felony amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remained in the [jail] in lieu of bond. Monroe sheriff’s spokeswoman says [police] were dispatched to check out a report of a possibly suicidal person. When [police] knocked on the door, [Defendant] reportedly shouted, “Come in!” [police] opened the door as [defendant] was cutting up a pot plant, with several more plants by his side. [Defendant] looked up, saw it was the police and reportedly uttered a curse.
If you are inside a home, and if there is a knock on the door, and if you call out “come in,” whoever is out there can legally come in. If it is a LEO
well, you just let them in. Now, once on the scene lawfully — you let them in — whatever they see they can think about. If they see a pot plant, they may think, “Hey, that’s illegal under current law.” You know what happens next. All legal.
This is the “Plain view” doctrine, which means if the cop is there legally, and sees contraband or crime, he has a duty to act against your illegal activity.
The Defendant [in this case] wants to claim that — as there was no suicide, the cop had no business being there. Since the LEO should not have been there at all, nothing he saw should count. Make things like the LEO never stood here is what the defendant wants. That’s going to fail under “plain view” doctrine.
What do we learn?
If you are cleaning pot plants in your house, do not yell “come in” if someone knocks on the door. Get your sorry ass up and go see who it is.
If it is LEO, be polite and say you don’t want to talk. Ask to see the warrant. If they don’t have one, don’t let them in. Good luck.
Read more of our original subject matter here.
[image: Google images law]