Medical Marijuana Raids

Judge Rejects Cops' Argument That Their Behavior During a Medical Marijuana Raid Is a Private Matter

Santa Ana officers tried to suppress a video that seems to show them sampling a dispensary's wares.


O.C. Weekly

It was pretty embarrassing when Santa Ana cops raiding a medical marijuana dispensary were caught on video making fun of an amputee, playing darts, and (apparently) eating cannabis-infused chocolate bars. It was even more embarrassing when they argued that the Santa Ana Police Department should not be allowed to use the video in its investigation of the incident because they never agreed to be recorded. This week an Orange County judge slapped down that chutzpadik claim, saying the officers "should not expect privacy in their on-duty performance of an official function at a marijuana dispensary."

The three unnamed officers who are under investigation said they thought they had disabled all the surveillance cameras at Sky High Holistic and were therefore free to let it all hang out. They noted that California law says "all parties to a confidential communication" must consent to being recorded, and they never gave their consent.

But that rule does not apply when "the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded." And according to Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Bauer, the cops "had no objectively reasonable expectation that their words and actions would not be observed" while performing their official duties in a business they had just raided. Bauer noted that "they have made no claim that their work required secrecy or that it would be impeded by public review."

NEXT: I Thought Justice Was Blind

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  1. “…muh privacy”

    Bahahahaha…. Sucks, doesn’t it, bitch!? I hope this case stays on this path. Good to see someone standing up.

  2. Bauer noted that “they have made no claim that their work required secrecy or that it would be impeded by public review.”

    I thought I remembered them claiming to be harmed by the release of the video due to one or more of them being undercover.

    1. Yet some of them still wore masks until they thought the cameras were off. That should never be part of a LEO’s ensemble, at least not in anything claiming to be a free country.

      1. Is California one of the states where wearing a mask or a face covering during the commission of a crime is itself a crime or sentencing enhancement? Some states adopted this sort of rule aiming specifically at the KKK, so it wouldn’t be the least bit ironic if a law aimed at the KKK hit a cop instead. It would be proof the law works as intended.

        1. Moar lyk KKKops, amirite?

        2. Well, back in the day, there were counties where most of the cops were also in the KKK…

  3. This ruling kind of sucks. I was looking forward to non-badged criminals claiming the same thing of video evidence against them.

    1. That is completely different. Non-badged criminals are criminals, after all. These police merely took stuff that didn’t belong to them without paying for it and consumed intoxicants while on duty. See the difference?

      1. Yes, thanks to the video.

    2. We can’t be too far away from someone on trial for murder or manslaughter using un-punished police violence as precedence for their defense.

    3. “I saw on the news where 4 cops curb-stomped a guy to death for no apparent reason and were not convicted of any crime. What other conclusion could be drawn other than curb-stomping someone to death must not be a crime?”

      1. Well, not convicted is up to a jury. But not charged… I guess you might have an equal protection claim.

  4. Glave, the attorney representing the police union, argued that the surveillance video was illegally recorded in violation of officers’ privacy rights. He said officers will suffer “irreparable harm,” including discipline and termination, if the video is used in the ongoing investigation.

    “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” Glave said, in the lawsuit.

    I’m not sure this needs a comment. It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    1. Citizen counters, “without dumb thugs in uniform stealing property and getting high, there would be no internal investigation of said thugs.”

    2. Evidence of crimes committed by PO’s infringe on their right to commit crimes in private.

      1. Perfect paraphrasing. That is exactly what they are saying.

    3. “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling civilians!”

  5. This was a lawyer’s hail Mary pass if there ever was one. Good on the judge for shooting it down.

  6. I thought the two-party-consent law just meant that you could be prosecuted for recording someone without their consent, it didn’t mean that the resulting recording was inadmissible as evidence. Would a judge in a murder trial suppress a video showing one party in a confidential communication (who had not consented to be recorded) murdering the other party? — and that’s a case where the expectation of privacy would apply.

    1. good lawyer question. i think there are different supression rules in each state, in addition to the supression rules that apply federally. the gist of most of these suppression rules is this: film of cops = inadmissable … film of civilians = always admissable

  7. the cops “had no objectively reasonable expectation that their words and actions would not be observed” while performing their official duties in a business they had just raided.

    Fuck you. That’s why.

    1. Stranger than fiction, that’s for sure.

      1. Why aren’t you selling anything? There should be a spam link after that remark, dammit!

  8. More reason to defend and respect cops.

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