More stupid drug war tricks

Via Radley Balko…

Bird-watcher wrongly arrested for possession of pot had sage in backpack

She prayed for peace that day.

But the sage that Robin Brown carried on a bird-watching outing in Weston landed her in jail on felony charges of marijuana possession.

Now she is suing over the wrongful arrest. […]

Sheriff’s Deputy Dominic Raimondi, 51, mistook Brown’s sage for marijuana, then searched her car and found more. His field kit said the sage — purchased at an airport gift shop in Albuquerque, N.M. — tested positive for marijuana.

He did not arrest her that day in March 2009, but sent the 50 grams of “contraband” to the crime lab for a more definitive test.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Horn ordered Brown’s arrest without having the sage tested, court records show.

Three months later, Raimondi showed up at the Massage Envy in Weston where Brown works and took her away in handcuffs.


“Our policy is to make sure the evidence is tested at the very least before trial,” said Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office. “Looking back now at this specific police report, it would have been the better practice to test the evidence before filing a formal charge.”

Ya think???

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30 Responses to More stupid drug war tricks

  1. strayan says:

    I thought all police had the ability to identify cannabis by smell alone.

  2. Benjamin says:

    There will, of course, be no negative consequences for any law enforcement or judiciary officer involved in this civil rights violation.

  3. Matthew Meyer says:

    It’s like a bad joke turned real. What if cops didn’t try to bust people unless they were actually doing something destructive / bothersome?

    Once when I was in college I was sitting outside my department’s building at night, smoking a roll-your-own of some natural tobacco. Cop comes up and starts quizzing me: “Whatcha smoking?”

    I shouldn’t have joked that it was cannabis.

    No, I guess I got lucky, no arrest. But the lady cop couldn’t even tell, I asked her, “does this smell like pot?” And she’s like, “Yeah, it does.”

    Yeah, somebody’s smoking something, and you don’t know what it is, it must be pot.

    Somebody has an herb, you don’t know what it is, it must be illegal.


  4. darkcycle says:

    There’s another problem with this. We’re laughing (well, we are…). The probability is that if this goes to trial, so will the jury. This is a completely egregious violation of civil rights, and it deserves far more serious treatment than it is likely to get. If it had been just about anything else, mistaken for anything else, that had resulted in this story, we would likely not be laughing. For instance: Substitute an Islamic man for the victim and block of modeling clay, and an alarm clock and bundle of wires for the sage….see where I’m goin?
    You know, part of the problem is also that most people don’t take a pot bust seriously….it’s as if they get the impression that a felony drug arrest and conviction is no big deal. Well, pot use in this culture is no big deal….why should being busted be? These people though, have never gone through the experience and will not have to live with or even think about the lifelong consequences.
    When this case incites fists to pound on tables, instead of tittering, then the drug war is over.
    Sorry, I’m rambling.

    • Windy says:

      I was outraged by this story, not laughing. This sort of thing is no joking matter, not to me, anyway. This was the lead in I wrote on my facebook page about it:
      If this doesn’t get your dander up, nothing will. This is absolutely outrageous, the prosecutor in this case should lose his job, and should get the pants sued off him, personally, and the award/settlement paid from his own pocket; but because of “qualified immunity” the lawsuit will be against the department, and the taxpayers will pay the settlement/award.

      And the comment I posted on it:
      Arrested 3 months later with no testing of the substance having been done before arrest. It’s enough to make one go off the deep end in anger.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Perhaps I’m just see-through faded, super jaded and out of my mind but it didn’t make me laugh a bit.

    • darkcycle says:

      My first response was amusement, I’ve got to be honest with you. My wife also responded with chuckles, due to the irony, no doubt, but chuckles nonetheless. I’m afraid most of the population will not take this anywhere near seriously enough as well. We’re immersed in this stuff, remember, to the majority this is peripheral at best.
      If snickering initially makes me a bad darkcycle, well, that’s been a trend for fifty years or so. You should have heard some of the things that made me laugh inappropriately as a therapist. I guess finding ironic humor in sick, pathetic shit is a defense mechanism, but it’s served me well.

  5. Duncan20903 says:

    When I was in high school one of the morons in my class took apart a tea bag and rolled it up. He lit it up and started smoking it a few moments before the vice principal happened by. Hilarity which included several of Fairfax County, Virginia’s finest singing a parody version of the Toyota theme song* ensued. Nowadays he’d get expelled just for smoking on school property. Back then it was authorized.

    *”You asked for it, you got it… Toyota”, but substitute the students name for Toyota, which I can’t for the life of me recall.

  6. Duncan20903 says:

    It sure seems to me that the cop that did the presumptive test was all but certain that it wasn’t cannabis. This is Florida we’re talking about and felony weight for that State. The fact that he didn’t arrest her speaks volumes to me.

  7. Peter says:

    Somebody was probably thinking about a little overtime.

  8. divadab says:

    The Drug War – enabling unjust dominionists to oppress hippies since 1970!

    Prohibitionists are fascist scum. Liars. America-haters.

    Overgrow and overthrow!

    • denmark says:

      Last word in your comment could very well become a reality.
      With what’s happening around the world ….. very thought-provoking and interesting as we are not immune from it happening here.

      Got enough food, water, meds and clothing to last three months or more?

  9. Buc says:

    Wow, I can’t believe it…

    They actually said they may have been mistaken this time. Usually, they find a way to blame the victim.

  10. allan says:

    sigh… and hippies will be growing their pot in the middle of hemp fields too…

    Every few years I meander down to central cal and harvest several pounds of silver sage that I bundle up for smudging. I’ve known what pot leaves look like for over 40 years… so I know both plants pretty well – and pardon me Mr LEO – but only an idiot could mistake sage for pot. And there are lots of different types of sage and not a single one of em looks or smells like the good herb.

    I certainly hope Ms Brown causes a loud hullabaloo (which also used to be a TV show) while she sues their pants off. Guaranteed that at least w/in local Weston criminal justice circles at least a someone or two is being mocked and given a very hard time.

  11. ezrydn says:

    Hey, Darkcycle- What’s your ride? I’m on an ’04 FXSTI. Just wonderin’ if we be brothers of the wind. Got a rear plate holder that has a large LED window you can program. Fob programs from the computer and fob has room for 4 sayings at 116 char. ea. It’s always saying something about the WosD. Nice little “billboard.”

    • darkcycle says:

      Yes, indeed, I’m a vintage bike buff. In addition to two vintage ’60s trials bikes (dirt Bikes) I have a 1955 Royal Enfield and an’82 Moto Guzzi that never runs! I’ve sold off the bulk of my collection but I had quite a few over the years. Also loves me them sports cars, I do, I’m sick for ’50s and ’60s British Sports cars. I have a philosophy…Social Science types love the British stuff, appeals to the emotional side. Engineers and technologists like the Porches, appeals to the tech approach. Penises with no taste drive Ferraris.
      Too much info, totally O/T…thats darkcycle.

    • darkcycle says:

      Hey Ez, check out our club….too far for you to catch a meeting, but hey, we have members all over the lower 48, (some down in Pheonix area) and British Columbia. Great bunch of fellows, alot of vets.

  12. DdC says:

    Leaving the Florida idiocy before Jeb on my way to California. Texas road cops tried to do the same thing to me. Sir we just located a narcotic substance. No it isn’t. Yes sir I believe it is. No it isn’t. It’s Sage. We took a piece of the sage bud and lit some in a half coconut shell and they passed it around flashing peace signs. That was leaving Texas. They tried busting me for a rain cane as we entered. Said it was a bong. Then the cop liked the sound and I thought he was going to confiscate it. Both times they picked up a 22 pistol and set it aside without blinking an eye. I’m all for giving Texas, Florida, Arizona and Southern California back to their rightful owners. I hope she sues the piss out of them. Now the governor has legislated profits for himself and I have to wonder if the people even care.

    14 Felonies Later, Gov Rick Scott Wants Taxpayers to Fund His Clinics
    Scott transferred 62 million dollars in Solantic stock (a chain of healthcare clinics) to a revocable trust in his wife’s name after he got elected. Now he’s passing a bill that will hugely benefit Solantic.

    Drug Test Protestors Send Urine Sample to Florida Governor

    Florida Governor Sued for State Employee Drug Testing
    June 01, 2011

    America’s One Million Legalized Marijuana Users

  13. vickyvampire says:

    What’s sad and angers us is that this scenario,that happened to Bird watcher Lady with Sage and similar will happen again and again for how many more years to how many more people.
    All would be a non-existent it Cannabis were completely legal.

    • DdC says:

      It’s a scam.

      Legalize It! Audubon Mag. – 09/07/00
      If you’re caught with ditchweed, you’re in big trouble, as Vernon McElroy discovered in 1991 when he got convicted for possessing 10.9 pounds that he says a friend picked and gave him as a joke. Now he’s doing life without parole at the overcrowded maximum-security penitentiary in Springville, Alabama. In Oklahoma, ditchweed is sprayed with herbicides from helicopters. And in 1998 Congress authorized $23 million for research into a soilborne fungus that attacks and kills marijuana, poppy, and coca plants.

      Spraying Ditchweed Could Devastate Game Bird Populations
      UPLAND GAME IS GOING TO POT in the Midwest. And if hunters and conservationists are not careful, upland -game hunting could do the same. The pot that the game is going to is marijuana or wild hemp, often called “pot” by its high-flying advocates. It grows as a weed in many Midwestern States.

      State Patrol on prowl for ditchweed harvesters
      County weed control agents poison all the ditchweed readily accessible on the roadsides, Brown said, but it still grows plentiful in creek bottoms.

      Cannabis Eradications 99.28% Ditchweed
      Over 99 percent of the marijuana eradicated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s federally funded “Cannabis Suppression Program” is nonpsychoactive hemp, reveals a 1998 Vermont State Auditor’s report.

    • noydb says:

      Yes, and it’s exactly what we need to happen………..To every friend and family member of every prohibitionist.

      OTOH, their greed will probably take priority over their loved ones and nothing will change.

  14. Plant down Babylon says:

    I was trying to explain to my 62yr old mom the other day about the marine in Az who was blown away by the Kops with 40shots and he never took the gun off safety.
    She said “well, if he wasn’t doing anything wrong, the Kops wouldn’t have shot him”.
    I said “he didn’t do anything wrong” other than have his house invaded by unknown assailants.

    My point is, there are so many uninformed people who put their trust in the police and defend them!

    They need to WAKE UP and exercise their Rights that the Constitution gives them or they will wake up one day and realize that the innocent victim is THEM and then it’s too late.
    I try everyday to educate the uneducated as I struggle to educate myself (help i’ve fallen and can’t reach my bonghit!!)

  15. Matthew Meyer says:

    At least she got out alive. Were she male and brown she mighta got shot.

  16. palemalemarcher says:

    The cannabis plant is something birds like! Cannabis is a food source for Sparrows Finches and other seed eaters. No one would suggest arresting the birds! Its surprising that the officers confused sage with the scent of pot.

    • DdC says:

      Hemp seed was never stopped for pet shops. As long as it was “sterilized” by heating it. Or crushed into meal or pressed for the oil. McCzarbarry tried busting 17 truckloads under Clinton. You still can’t grow it in the states.

      So Hemp seed is considered a schedule#1 narcotic. Yet it is sold in pet shops for song birds. Marc Emery is sitting in a Georgia prison for selling seeds. If it’s all considered “marijuana”, WTF? Just another brick in the wall of DEAth deceit.

      All political parties and reformers have a plan how to “treat” the symptoms, while no one is concerned with curing or preventing the disease. and the beat goes on…

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