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Better Safe Than…

Posted by tungtide on July 15, 2008, 9:07 am

It would appear that “sorry” doesn’t come into play in this case. (found via Simple Justice via Disgusted Beyond Belief). A police officer mistakenly identified a crop of kenaf plants as marijuana , a simple mistake seeing as how the two plants look similar. The big difference is that kenaf does not contain THC and when tested in the field the police did not detect THC either.

At this point any reasonable person might pause and think, “These might not be the plants I am looking for” (and probably not the droids either). The field test can read false negatives on freshly-cut plants. Again, the reasonable course of action would be to take a sample and retest on a dried piece. Nope.

The police seized the plants and destroyed them without conducting follow-up tests. The owner of the plants (who had grown them for local deer to feed on) sued for $225,000 to cover damages and losses. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the police.

So, the police can incorrectly identify a plant, take it, destroy it, and not have to pay for their mistake? Something here is very wrong.

As an addition I’ll also link to DBB’s entry on why you should never talk to the police. It’s got a couple videos from a law school class (each about 25 minutes but worth watching) and a longer video that I haven’t watched.

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