Just a simple case of mistaken identity?

Via Last One Speaks and US Marijuana Party, comes this gem.
So here’s the deal…

  • Cops think they see marijuana plants in a back yard.
  • They take pictures
  • They show the pictures to the district attorney
  • The district attorney takes a search warrant application to a judge
  • The judge signs it
  • Officers search the property
  • During the search, “at least 10 officers went through the Smiths’ house, checking drawers and closets and videotaping everything”

Now, in a free society, if we weren’t already used to the complete surrender of rights to this obsession over a plant, this would already seem to be a bizarre story.
But wait! There’s more…

  • It was the former mayor’s house, and the back yard is where the former mayor’s wife entertained local senior citizen groups
  • The plants were actually sunflowers, not marijuana
  • The search took place in Bel Aire, Kansas
  • Kansas is the Sunflower State

Even if none of the plants were blooming, sunflower leaves aren’t in the least bit similar to marijuana leaves.
Now this is a silly story — a funny story. But it shouldn’t be.
It should be a really f*cking scary story. The fact is that we’ve reached a point in the drug war where searching a home is considered a routine function, not demanding diligence or competence. A decision to send 10 men through your house videotaping your closets and drawers is not one to be taken lightly.
A picture named Smithplant.jpgUpdate: Here’s another article, including actual picture of the plants (picture at right is from that photo by Les Anderson of the Ark Valley News).
One of the things we learn is that the officers actually still thought it was marijuana after searching the place and took some with them!
The whole article is incredible. Read it all. The more details you read, the more pissed off you’ll get.
Here’s a sample:

When the officers were in their home, she kept trying to find out why the officers were searching it.

“I asked the police chief (Chris Ludiker), ‘Why would you think this?'” she said. “You know us,” she told him. “My husband hired you when he was mayor. We’ve lived here 40 years in the same house. Why would you think this? We’re senior citizens.”

Smith, a marriage and family counselor in Wichita, said the officers questioned her and her husband about why they had more than two vehicles. She said he told her that two people didn’t need more than two vehicles.

“One of them is my Jeep,” she said. “I drive my Jeep to Utah every year when we go backpacking there. We’ve gone there with our family for 15 or 16 years. I really enjoy driving my Jeep on trips.”

The officers asked them “over and over,” Smith said, about whether they had someone living there with them.

“They said younger men had been seen going into our house,” she said. “I told them we had two sons, the one in Wilson who gave me the seeds and the other one who is an electrician in El Dorado. One visited us on July Fourth, and one was here overnight over Labor Day weekend. There hasn’t been anyone else here.”

Smith said Ludiker also referred to the sign on their fence near the gate to the back yard. The sign reads “Guard dog on duty.” A separate sign under that sign reads “No trespassing.”

“I told him it was a joke–that’s why I bought it,” she said. “All we have is our little dog. He asked about other dogs. There aren’t any.”

When their family members initially heard about the drug raid, Smith said they laughed. Then they got mad.

That’s right. Get mad!
And here’s more info on the sunflower plant.

[Thanks, Tom]
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