PINELLAS COUNTY DEPUTIES USED FAKE SUBPOENAS AFTER OBTAINING EVIDENCE IN CLEARWATER & PINELLAS DRUG CASES

New investigations of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reveal that narcotics officers gained inappropriate access to private electric power bills from Progress Energy.  Later the Deputies used fake state attorney subpoenas to cover their tracks according to the Tampa Bay Times. The narcotics officers are also accused of telling lies to gain entry into homes, of giving false testimony under oath to obtain warrants and of using secret video feeds to spy on shoppers at a store in order to gain investigative information for marijuana grow house cases in Pinellas County, a part of Tampa Bay where your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney warily lives a day to day existence.


Currently sixteen separate internal affairs investigations of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division are moving forward with six new investigations  launched within the past week as the newly anointed Sheriff, only in office for a few months, heads into election. Is the Sheriff throwing the narcotics division “under the bus,” as his recent, now resigned, former head of the narcotics division believes. Or is the Sheriff somehow an innocent bystander just trying to clean up the mess?


 “You know what you are doing is wrong and you are covering yourself on the backside,” Sheriff Gualtieri said. “You don’t fully inform the state attorney and have them go through hoops to get information on something you already have.


Here is a Training Bulletin for Police from a Jacksonville Florida Law Enforcement agency which clearly balances the rights of citizens to have personal information protected against the need of Law Enforcement to conduct appropriate criminal investigations as does this bulletin from FDLE. Should PCSO need help I know a Clearwater Criminal Drug Attorney who’d happily talk to the Deputies about the need for a proper balance if they’ll promise not to frisk me first.


The only certain thing is that laws may have been broken. When a law enforcement officer falsely swears under oath or steals personal information, that officer should be prosecuted just like anyone else would be. A GRAND JURY should be convened to investigate possible criminal acts as well as any systemic corruption within the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office and the Pinellas State Attorney’s Office, which is somehow still moving forward with the marijuana grow house cases despite the lies and illegal activity. All of the cases involving these dishonest Deputies should be re-evalutated.
  

Pinellas Sheriff Discovers Fake Subpoenas even while bathing…
Jacques-Louis DavidThe Death of Marat, 1793

CAN DRUG DOGS GAIN PROBABLE CAUSE BY SNIFFING YOUR FRONT DOOR IN CLEARWATER FLORIDA?

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a drug dog sniffing detection case involving one of our favorite brave and faithful Florida canine friends, named Franky, whose unfortunate occupation is sniffing the front door of Florida homes for drugs so that search warrants can be obtained. The case is from an appeal of the Florida Supreme Court in Florida v. Jardines in which the Florida Court stated that,  “This Court has explained that a dog sniff is not a search because the sole knowledge that the dog obtains by sniffing is the presence of contraband, which a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in possessing in the first place.
It’s my strong belief that Florida Supreme Court is misguided, because a home – not being a public place but in some respects the only private place left for us – should be treated differently than say, an airport – where the immediate safety of all passengers may require greater scrutiny and the use of drug dogs to find drugs or explosives without a warrant. 
The case will resolve the constitutional issue of whether police must have probable cause, that is a strong belief that evidence of a crime exists and that the evidence will be found at the scene, before law enforcement officers can use a drug dog to sniff at the front door of a suspect home which the officers believe is a marijuana grow house (a home that has been converted into a virtual garden for marijuana plants).
Two important probable cause issues will be determined which your favorite Clearwater Drug Defense Attorney believes you’ll find of interest:


(1) Whether a dog sniffing at the front door of a suspected marijuana grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause. 
(2) And Whether the officers’ conduct during the investigation of the marijuana grow house, including remaining outside the house while waiting for the search warrant is in and of itself, a Fourth Amendment search.


This blog earlier discussed probable cause issues with vehicles involving another Drug Dog named Aldo whose sniffing was found by the Florida Supreme Court to not be up to snuff. Should you need expert legal defense have a Clearwater Defense Attorney take a look at your case. 

A Narcotics Detective enjoys teaching Police Dogs how to smell marijuana…

File:Ansdell Richard The Lucky Dogs.jpg
Andsell Richard, The Lucky Dogs, 1881

SOMEWHERE ORWELL IS SMILING: SECRET VIDEOS MADE BY THE PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE WERE USED IN SEARCH WARRANTS BASED ON WHERE PEOPLE SHOP IN LARGO FLORIDA

Imagine a dark Orwellian world where everything you do is on video and everything you do is closely examined in the hope it can be used as evidence against you in the future.

Well, if you live in Pinellas County, Florida you don’t have to imagine that world anymore, as your Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office secretly put hundreds of customers under video surveillance for over a year at a plant store called Simply Hydroponics. Law enforcement then used identifiers of the customers, such as the tags on their vehicles to track them, spy on them and to obtain search warrants which contained at best highly unlikely information.

This should make every American angry and even makes your favorite Clearwater Defense Lawyer despair for the future of our country.
In one case law enforcement officers placed a plant store customer’s home under surveillance then swore under oath in a search warrant that they could smell the marijuana plants and heard the distinct noise of foliage being broken from within what they designated as a suspected marijuana grow house. Our intrepid detectives found a single marijuana plant upon forcing their way into the home.
If there’s one thing all of us as Americans should be against it’s unbridled government surveillance and the destruction of our privacy rights. Yet we should also agree that the inherent corruption which resulted in officer’s telling lies under oath must also be rooted out.
The surveillance, the lies, the misinformation and the failure of law enforcement to abide by basic American standards of Justice should result in the immediate investigations of every law enforcement officer and every prosecutor involved as prosecutors routinely draft, prepare and take the search warrants to Judges for signatures. 
A Grand Jury should immediately be convened by the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate he highest positions at the Sheriff’s Office and at the State Attorney’s Office, to find who was responsible for placing the video equipment near the store, to find what other stores or public areas are secretly under surveillance and to bring to justice all of those who did this or allowed this to be done under their watch.

Here are a few excerpts about smell as possible probable cause from the St. Petersburg Times Article: Young plants don’t emit an odor, but if a person were growing “hundreds” of mature plants in a structure that wasn’t properly sealed, it’s “possible” an officer very close to the home would notice the smell…James Woodford of Chattanooga, Tenn., an expert on the topic of marijuana odor, said a large operation vented directly outdoors could generate an occasional “whiff” of marijuana detectable up to 25 to 30 feet away [i.e., less than half the distance between the sidewalk and Underwood’s “alleged grow room”]….Law enforcement officers commonly use the smell of marijuana to establish probable cause.
Drug Crimes Trial Lawyer & Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater, FL
Times Editorial: America shouldn’t be a surveillance society
Video Surveillance – Are Hidden Cameras Legal?
933.07 Issuance of search warrants.
(1) The judge, upon examination of the application and proofs submitted, if satisfied that probable cause exists for the issuing of the search warrant, shall thereupon issue a search warrant signed by him or her with his or her name of office, to any sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies or any police officer or other person authorized by law to execute process, commanding the officer or person forthwith to search the property described in the warrant or the person named, for the property specified, and to bring the property and any person arrested in connection therewith before the judge or some other court having jurisdiction of the offense.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, based on grounds specified in s. 933.02(4)(d), may obtain a search warrant authorized by this chapter for an area in size up to and including the full extent of the county in which the search warrant is issued. The judge issuing such search warrant shall conduct a court proceeding prior to the issuance of such search warrant upon reasonable notice and shall receive, hear, and determine any objections by property owners to the issuance of such search warrant. Such search warrant may be served by employees or authorized contractors of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Such search warrant may be made returnable at any time up to 6 months from the date of issuance.

933.04 Affidavits.The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches shall not be violated and no search warrant shall be issued except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation particularly describing the place to be searched and the person and thing to be seized.

From Orwell’s novel 1984, The three slogans of the Party on the Ministry of Truth Building.