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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Court Spokesman Fired After He Butt Dials A Reporter And Leaves A Four-Minute Message About His High-Salary, No Work Job

Watch_pocket_Samsung_M910_phone_jehThe spokesman for the New York State Court system has been fired after a disastrous butt-call to a reporter in which he admitted barely working to earn his $172,000 job.  David Bookstaver, 59, was previously stripped of his duties but he remained as “communications director” with his high salary and virtually no work.  That is when the spokesman was undone by the accidental dialing of a reporter and a four-minute tirade in which he laughed about this sweet job.

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Judge Richard Posner Declares Support For Supreme Court Expansion Proposal

I have previously discussed the legendary career of Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Widely viewed as the father of Law and Economics, Posner remains one of greatest influences on American jurisprudence in the history of this country.  I have long been a great admirer of his work and teach his theories as part of my torts course.  It is for that reason that I was delighted when my co-counsel sent me the interview below where Judge Posner expressed support for the proposal that I have advanced for many years to reform the Supreme Court.  Posner agrees with the proposal to expand the Supreme Court to nineteen members.

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Of Pardons and Presidents: Why Trump Can But Shouldn’t Use His Power To Pardon His Family and Aides

 Below is my column in the Washington Post on the controversy over the possible use of pardon authority by President Donald Trump to protect his family and aides involved in the Russian investigation.  Trump’s tweet reference to his “complete power to pardon” fueled rumors that he is considering pardons, including a possible self-pardon.


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Seattle Court Request For Clean Up Leads To Controversy Over Race and Resources

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Columbia Settles Lawsuit With Male Student Accused Of Rape in “Mattress Girl” Case

200px-ColumbiaNYUCoat.svgColumbia University has reached a settlement in one of its most controversial cases of alleged sexual assault.  Paul Nungesser, who  was accused of raping a fellow classmate who became known as “mattress girl,” will receive a settlement.  Emma Sulkowicz carried around a mattress on campus in protest, even taking the mattress to graduation.  She received college credit for the protest as a form of performance art.  Nungesser had lost twice over motions of dismissal and was pursuing an appeal

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Posner: All Judges Should Be Required To Retire At 80

Richard_Posner_at_Harvard_UniversityJudge Richard Posner may have just announced his own impending retirement from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Posner is arguing that federal judges should be subject to a mandatory retirement age of “probably 80.” The legendary jurist and writer is 78 years old.  The interview may also add fuel to calls for Supreme Court justices to accept retirement.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84.  Anthony Kennedy is 80.  Stephen Breyer is 78.

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