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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:06 PM
Original message
Bwa-ha-ha -- Judge doubts trooper could have sniffed out marijuana
From this morning's Anchorage Daily News. http://www.adn.com/2011/04/24/1826162/judge-says-troope...



An Alaska trooper's reported ability to sniff out marijuana grow operations from hundreds of feet away is under attack in federal court.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick concluded the pot-smelling power of investigator Kyle Young wasn't supported by the facts in a Mat-Su marijuana case, and shouldn't have been used as justification for a search warrant.

As a result, Sedwick threw out the seized evidence -- including some 500 marijuana plants. Unless prosecutors appeal, the government's drug case against Trace Rae and Jennifer Anne Thoms of Wasilla is gutted.

"This time, the tables turned," defense lawyer Rex Butler, who represents Trace Thoms, said Sunday. "This is a huge case, especially for the Valley."

He said it carries implications for numerous cases that were based on trooper Young's reputed marijuana-detecting skill.

<snip>



Read more: http://www.adn.com/2011/04/24/1826162/judge-says-troope...

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. Are they going to stage a double-blind field test of the officer's sense of smell? n/t
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder if they know Sarah...
Maybe just her kids. :shrug:
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hmm, depending on the strain and lack of filtration I could probably sniff them out
But I'm fully supportive of tossing out the evidence, only because Cannabis cultivation shouldn't be illegal.
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Hassin Bin Sober Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Yep. I had college roommates who grew a few plants under a grow-light.
You could smell the stuff two floors down when you walked in the front door. I suspect 500 plants could be smellable outside.

That said, I too am happy to see the case tossed. I was never a smoker of the stuff - well except during Drums & Space... but that was only to be sociable.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Did you read about all the fancy filters?
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Hassin Bin Sober Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
32. Now I did that i read the article.
That's a pretty liberal judge to not use the "proof is in the pudding" line of reasoning. That's why cops get away with perjury all the time - they lie and say they "smelled a distinct odor of cannabis." If they find drugs, they get away with perjury. If they don't, then no harm no foul. Except of course that violation of a person's 4th amendment rights.


On a somewhat curious note: How does one go in to a suppression hearing and admit to having such a good filter it wasn't possible for the cop to smell the weed you were growing. Doesn't that admission in the suppression hearing give the D.A. all he/she needs to prosecute even without the plants? :crazy:
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. They had an extensive filtration system going.
The experts said it seemed highly unlikely that any odor could have escaped given the set-up.
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slay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. LEGALIZE IT
and end this madness.

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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. +1000
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
5. Why are we still wasting time, money, and resources on this, again?
Fucking legalize it, already.
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Cronus Protagonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Alaska? I bet he snoops around at night out of uniform making illegal "investigative" searches
Or possibly the most likely is that he probably didn't get his monthly bag of pot and cash that he usually gets.
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Rageneau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
8. We liberals say legalize it, but Obama says lock all the pot growers up.
The issue I resent Obama about the most is this one. By merely speaking the word, he could effectively end the decades-long, indescribably destructive 'war' on drugs.

But nooooooooooo!
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. No, he did not say that.
Not even close. I suggest you edit your post or I'll have to alert it.

He'll get it rescheduled after 2012.
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Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. "He'll get it rescheduled after 2012"
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:23 PM by Upton
I doubt if he's ever said that either. Though perhaps you have a link or something to back up your claim?

Obama's DEA, breaking earlier promises, continues to go after medical marijuana dispensaries and users......often locking them up.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. I didn't say he did.
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Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Then what's with the "he'll get it rescheduled" claim?
Seems rather odd...particularly after you just got done chiding another poster for claiming something that wasn't true.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. If you don't understand the difference between the two statements, you never will.
I'm not playing your semantic games.

Opinions are opinions, lies are lies.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
11. I like Judge Sedwick
He's the one who presided over all the convictions of the "corrupt bastards," which Eric Holder later overturned because of "prosecutorial misconduct," despite the fact that they were all guilty as sin.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
14. Wasilla. It figures
:eyes: Meth labs are a lot easier to smell that weed plants.
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
15. I'm pro-legalization. And I believe the judge is wrong.
Growing up in southern WVa, if you spend anytime in the mountains, you are bound to stumble upon some weed operations. I can tell you without a doubt that some of them could be smelled from a decent distance away, especially if the wind was blowing from the same direction.
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Sure, but to call it probable cause from a legal perspective is bullshit
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 02:39 PM by PeaceNikki
Could be a skunk.

edited for freeper spelling correction
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. No skunks in Alaska,
and I agree that pot grows smell sometimes, but these people seemed to have a very, very sophisticated filtration system which made odor detection from so far away unlikely.
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. WHAT!?!? No skunks in AK!?!?
huh. Check that out. I've learned something today.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. According to Wiki Answers
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:16 PM by Blue_In_AK
Skunks are not native to Alaska. It is possible for them to survive, but they prefer warmer climates. Alaska is the only state without skunks. It is also illegal to import, sell, or breed skunks in Alaska. The state has the right to shoot any skunk they may find in possession. It could be possible to see a skunk that may have crossed the border in the most southern areas of the state, but not likely.



Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_there_skunks_in_Alaska#ix...


That's not to say that we don't have the human variety. Several of our politicians, actually. And, of course, there is the legendary Matanuska Thunderfuck marijuana which had a skunk-like fragrance.
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. 'The state has the right to shoot any skunk they may find in possession' - does
that mean the state of Alaska can kill any skunk who's holding? Does the skunk at least get a trial first or is it summary execution?
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Good question.
I'll have to look into that. :rofl:
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #15
30. RTFA. The grow was INDOORS, in a building 450 ' off the road,
and equipped with charcoal filtration and a 100 lbs. fan.

Also, note the following, all done PRIOR to obtaining a warrant:

He stopped and determined he was downwind of the first house on the right and that's where the smell was coming from. He checked property records and found that it belonged to Trace and Jennifer Thoms, he wrote in his affidavit. He found that Trace Thoms had a criminal history, including a 2005 felony marijuana conviction. He checked electrical usage and found that the home had two accounts in Jennifer Thoms' name averaging nearly $800 in electricity a month. (Young said he later found out there were additional accounts in the name of businesses for snow plowing and painting, which wouldn't have used electricity.)
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LetTimmySmoke Donating Member (970 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
16. I'm gonna sniff out some marijuana when I get home from work this afternoon.
;)
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
27. Are you shitting me... WTF?
"He said it carries implications for numerous cases that were based on trooper Young's reputed marijuana-detecting skill."

Numerous cases? What the fuck? This douchebag had numerous convictions based on this shit? One would think the worst lawyer could get shit like this thrown out but somehow he got numerous convictions? I ask again... What the fuck?
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Trooper Kyle Young is a bit of a zealot.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 04:57 PM by Blue_In_AK
I've transcribed his testimony in numerous drug trials, especially ones involving marijuana grows. It may be that Judge Sedwick is familiar with Trooper Young, as well, which is why he slapped him down this time.

It seems like such a waste of effort here in Alaska where possession of up to an ounce in one's home is basically legal and up to four is borderline.
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. I just find it amazing
This guy could sit in court and say "oh yes, my pot smelling ability led me to this bust" and it would be allowed to stand... and not just once but numerous times... It's staggering.
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DFW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
31. Give the trooper a real test
Have him sniff 30 plies of some plant from 300 feet away.

If he can't identify the marijuana, put him away for five years for perjury.
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