When Probable Cause Looks More Like 'Meh, Maybe?' Cause

On April 20, 2012, deputies from the Johnson County, Kansas, sheriff’s department stormed the home of Robert and Adlynn Harte, apparently expecting to uncover a marijuana grow operation. It was, after all, 4/20.

What they found instead was an indoor garden in the basement, a project the Hartes had started with their two young children to grow tomato, squash and melon plants. The legal battle touched off by the dangerous mistake ended last week in a ruling that exposes just how weak the standard of “probable cause” can be.

At first, the…

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