Tenth Circuit Strips Qualified Immunity After Sheriff’s Office Raids Home Of Tea Growers

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

There are some cases where probable cause is questioned and there are a few others that leave me shaking my head in disbelief of how ridiculous some officers can be.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down a stinging rebuke of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and its deputies some of whom, Plaintiffs claim, lied about a field test of a suspected Marijuana product, finding evidence of marijuana grow derived from purchasing tools at a gardening retailer somehow established probable cause sufficient to send in a SWAT team to execute a search warrant and detain a couple for several hours.

The leafy green vegetable matter in question was not marijuana but tea leaves.

It is a classic example of department officials promising to make a publicity garnering drug sweep and when arrests are not made, someone must be sent to jail at all costs. And as can often be the case with such maligned efforts the end result was a civil rights lawsuit in federal court.

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DisruptJ20: The Justice Department Demands 1.3 Million IP Addresses and Other Information On Trump Critics

YC_kStF9US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgBelow is my column in USA Today on a troubling warrant issued by the Justice Department to force the disclosure of visitors to an anti-Trump site.  The DisruptJ20 case raises very serious questions regarding political speech and associational rights.

Here is the column:

 

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Pronoun Prison? California Moves Toward Criminalizing The Refusal To Use The Correct Pronoun For Transgender People

California flagThe California State Senate is considering a bill that would make it a crime to  “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” in a public health, retirement or housing institution.  State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced  SB 219  with a variety of transgender protections but the pronoun controversy is likely to get the most attention.  Violators face a year in jail and a potential $1000 fine.  The criminalization of pronoun misuse however could raise serious free speech and other constitutional concerns.

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New York Times Column Calls For End To “Color-Blind Logic” In Defense of Free Speech

Freedom_of_SpeechI have been writing for years about the rising wave of intolerance for free speech that has swept over Europe and is now reaching our own shores in the United States.  Attacks on free speech are increasing from the left which has cracked down on speech deemed offensive or intimidating to any group.  Thus far, the United States has been a bulwark against this trend, but an editorial in the New York Times this week is a chilling example of how voices against free speech are now becoming mainstream. The editorial was written by K-Sue Park is a housing attorney and the Critical Race Studies fellow at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.  Park criticizes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for what she views as blind fealty to free speech and suggests that it is time to stop defending Nazis because sometimes standing on the wrong side of history in defense of a cause you think is right is still just standing on the wrong side of history.  Of course, many of us believe that the wrong side of history is the side where free speech depends on what you want to say — and whether people like Park agree with it.

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Pelosi Calls For Permit To Be Revoked For Rally Of Pro-Trump Prayer Group In San Francisco

220px-nancy_pelosiHouse Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has always displayed a rather fluid view of constitutional rights (though in fairness, that is not a major distinction from other politicians).  However, this week Pelosi appeared to embrace content based discrimination in the area of free speech.  Pelosi is demanding that the National Park Service reconsider a permit for what she called a “white supremacist rally” in San Francisco.  In light of the violence in Charlottesville, Pelosi insists that “The NPS should reevaluate its decision and its capacity to protect the public during such a toxic rally.” The problem is leaving it to the government to declare what groups are toxic from Pelosi’s list of constructive banned viewpoints.  I felt ill watching the torch march of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as white supremacists yelled disgusting anti-Semitic and racist chants.  It reminded me of the Nazi rallies before World War II — before my father and so many others went off to fight fascism.  However, despite that revulsion, I remain committed to the right of everyone to speak and protest regardless of the content of their views.

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Trump Administration Demands Information On Over A Million Visitors To Anti-Trump Website

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Intimidation By Salutation: Trump Accused Of New Form Of Obstruction For Sending His Appreciation and Greeting To Mueller

440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_III-1donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the most recent suggested crime committed by President Donald Trump or his family.  This allegation focuses on a greeting sent through President Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  It appears that Trump is obstructing if he voices criticism or appreciation of Mueller.    Dowd was in the news again yesterday in taking it upon himself to object to pre-dawn raid on the home of Paul Manafort.

Here is the column:

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