Hastings Law Professor Clark Freshman has acquired some real-life material for his next class. Narcotics police raided his home on January 11th in the belief that he had an illegal marijuana growing operation. They found only a rather ticked off law professor.
Freshman’s rented penthouse was one of six addresses raided simultaneously in San Francisco that morning. Freshman was handcuffed in his bathrobe during the search and told the media that he told that police that they were breaking the law, but that “they just laughed at him” “I told them to call the judge and get their warrant updated . . . They just laughed at me — I guess that’s why they’re called pigs.”
Hastings is reportedly the main consultant to the television show Lie to Me. He teaches dispute resolution but there appeared to be little room for such mediation on this occasion.
Freshman says that he will sue the DEA and the SFPD for unlawful search and seizure of his home. He may regret his “pigs” comment, which could be elicited at trial to show hostility or prejudice the jury. I assume it would be the subject of a motion in limine by Freshman. He insists “[t]here will not be a better litigated case this century.”
It is likely that the warrant failed to distinguish between internal units — a common mistake that should invalidate the warrant. See, e.g., United States v. Votteller, 544 F.2d 1355 (6th Cir. 1976). As the Fifth Circuit has held, “Contemporary concepts of living such as multi-unit dwellings must not dilute [the defendant’s] right to privacy any more than is absolutely required. We believe that the backyard area of [the defendant’s] home is sufficiently removed and private in character that he could reasonably expect privacy. Thus . . . actual invasion into this protected area and search [thereof] violates the Fourth Amendment.” Fixel v. Wainwright, 492 F.2d 480, 484 (5th Cir. 1974).
Source: SF Weekly