ONTD Political

Castro Pot Bust Goes Awry and a Law Professor Threatens to Sue

9:57 pm - 02/17/2011
http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-02-16/news/pot-raid-sfpd-castro-law-professor-clark-freshman-sue/

When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for "proceeds" from an illegal marijuana grow.

The SFPD and DEA found no piles of marijuana money at 243 Diamond St., one of six addresses raided simultaneously in San Francisco that morning. Instead, they found Clark Freshman, who rents the penthouse at the two-unit building. Freshman, a UC Hastings law professor and the main consultant to the television show Lie to Me, was put into handcuffs while in his bathrobe as agents searched, despite Freshman's insistence that they had the wrong place and were breaking the law. "I told them to call the judge and get their warrant updated," he says. "They just laughed at me — I guess that's why they're called pigs."

Soon they may be called defendants in a lawsuit. A furious Freshman has pledged to sue the DEA and the SFPD for unlawful search and seizure of his home.

In his search warrant, Officer Scott Biggs of the SFPD's narcotics unit says that prior to the raid, he spent two days and two nights casing the address looking for Mahmoud Larizadeh, the property's owner. Larizadeh also owns a 13th Street warehouse, a part of which he rents to Bruce Rossignol, a licensed medical cannabis patient who now faces three felony charges for growing pot there.

Biggs describes 243 Diamond as a "two-story, one-unit" building in the warrant. There's no mention of Freshman or Larizadeh's son-in-law or seven-months pregnant daughter who were detained in the downstairs unit that morning. But property records — and a quick visual scan of the property — reveal it to be a three-story, two-unit building. That mistake alone may be enough to invalidate the search warrant.

SFPD offered no comment other than reiterating they had a warrant from Judge Richard Kramer to search 243 Diamond. But Peter Keane, dean emeritus of Golden Gate University's School of Law, says there appears to be a problem. "There's been cases like this in the past where police have a warrant to search [a single residence], then they get there and it's a multi-unit building and they search the whole building. In those cases, people have sued and collected substantial settlements. I think whomever is representing the government better get out his checkbook."

"I've been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs ... and now I'm a victim of this crazy war on drugs," says Freshman, who pledged to sue until "I see [the agents'] houses sold at auction and their kids' college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century."
versinae 18th-Feb-2011 03:05 am (UTC)
It's always kinda great when lawyers have been wronged have all the force of their righteous anger and capability to do something about it.

However, it's sad that these sort of things only go to court when it happens to someone with the money/knowledge to fight it.

Can he make this a class-action sort of thing, bringing in other people who have had this happen to them too?

*is not a law prof obvs*
bludstone 18th-Feb-2011 03:24 am (UTC)
He can set precedent that other people can use in their cases

/also not a lawyer
speciesofspaces 18th-Feb-2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Eh, it's not really a good one for a class action. The facts for every case will be too different. You really need to have something like, we all took the same drug, or we all used the same tire, for CA to be effective. Every botched raid goes wrong in its own way.

Hope that's not TMI. :-)
haruhiko 18th-Feb-2011 03:07 am (UTC)
It's not the first time a freshman has been handcuffed by uniformed men in the Castro.
haruhiko 18th-Feb-2011 03:12 am (UTC)
In all seriousness though, fuck the fucking pigs. I hope he goes through with a lawsuit.
bludstone 18th-Feb-2011 03:30 am (UTC)
hooray we all agree on something. Turkey Clubs for everyone!

kyra_neko_rei 18th-Feb-2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
OK, took me a few hours to get that one.

*snrk*

(And why in all hell is my brain working better in the morning?)

Edited at 2011-02-18 04:16 pm (UTC)
turkeybeer 18th-Feb-2011 03:21 am (UTC)
Lie to Me??? I love that show! I hope Professor Freshman sues the shit out of these assholes.
thecityofdis 18th-Feb-2011 03:41 am (UTC)
Everything about this article, this subject, this whole fucking version of reality, makes me rage.

Bruce Rossignol, a licensed medical cannabis patient who now faces three felony charges for growing pot there.

Fucking seriously?! You are going to destroy someone's LIFE with THREE FELONY CHARGES for growing marijuana. Like, it's not ridiculous enough that he's a medical marijuana patient.

UGH UGH UGH. I don't even use pot. I have never gotten high in my entire life. But this PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF so much. Fuck these laws, fuck the police, and fuck anyone who thinks this is a good idea.
escherichiacola 18th-Feb-2011 03:52 am (UTC)
Let's save some money and dismantle the DEA.
bludstone 18th-Feb-2011 04:10 am (UTC)
I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
___closetome 18th-Feb-2011 04:14 am (UTC)
Now that's one federal agency we can all agree needs to gtfo.
chaya 18th-Feb-2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
*also subscribes* Can we used the saved money to buy club sammiches?
luminescnece 18th-Feb-2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah...

thenakedcat 19th-Feb-2011 12:57 am (UTC)
Let's make some money and have the DEA tax the shit out of completely legalized, commercially available drugs.
mswyrr 18th-Feb-2011 04:52 am (UTC)
I think it's an interesting study in power that the police do this kind of shit--and far, far worse--to poor people in this country every motherfucking day and have nothing to fear. It's when they make the mistake of going after an upper class white dude that they have to worry.

"I guess that's why they're called pigs."

Um, yeah. Partly. But also because they fucking kill some innocent people and beat the crap out of others. Stuff that will never happen to you.

"I've been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs ... and now I'm a victim of this crazy war on drugs," says Freshman, who pledged to sue until "I see [the agents'] houses sold at auction and their kids' college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century."

It's so nice you get to scorch the earth for your discomfort because you're a rich white boy.

thatdamnninja 18th-Feb-2011 05:12 am (UTC)

Point taken, but anybody who contributes to stopping this crazy "war on drugs" is ok by me.
mswyrr 18th-Feb-2011 05:16 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah. ITA agree on that point.

But there's a really ugly element to this piece that's all about how MY PRIVILEGE WAS MOMENTARILY SUSPENDED. HORROR. SHOCK.

THIS MUST BE AVENGED!!!

When there are people who'd like to be treated that gently by cops.
homasse 18th-Feb-2011 06:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for saying what was nagging at me about this article but I couldn't put my finger on.
sarken 18th-Feb-2011 07:26 am (UTC)
their kids' college tuitions taken away from them

That bugged the fucking hell out of me. I mean, everything you mentioned did, but that one especially made me go, "Grr."
mswyrr 18th-Feb-2011 07:35 am (UTC)
Yeah. That part felt like some serious class privilege shit against the cops.

Because cops, though paid a lot, are not quite of his class.

And he wants them to know that if they DARE to strike UP rather than down, the class aspirations of their kids will be fucked over.

Nice guy~
kitschaster 18th-Feb-2011 05:19 am (UTC)
This reminds me of the time they did that raid on the medical marijuana clinics in Los Angeles...that amounted to absolutely nothing. Basically, the LAPD just wanted some spending money and pot, so HEY! let's go raid people, make no arrests, and walk away with other people's property!

That raid was utter bullshit.
lemonsalt 18th-Feb-2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
OT but: read the title and thought it realted to Fidel Castro.
lemonsalt 18th-Feb-2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
*related.
cailte 19th-Feb-2011 01:55 am (UTC)
"I see [the agents'] houses sold at auction and their kids' college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century."

This makes me sick. Yeah, they got the wrong house and they didn't attempt to work with the man but holy shit. Why threaten to ruin their kid's lives when they had nothing to do with it.

Otherwise yes, cops are usually arrogant jerks.
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