Marijuana Grow Houses, Search Warrants, Illegally Obtained Evidence
A suburban Palm Beach Gardens man is in jail after a welfare check at his home found he was growing marijuana there, police said.
Ryan E. Delanenuville, 37, was arrested Thursday on allegations of manufacturing cannabis, possession of marijuana and possessing a dwelling to manufacture a controlled substance.
The deputy walked around the house and looked in windows for signs of distress or injury. The deputy saw cannabis plants growing in red cups under a red-and-blue lighting system, according to a probable-cause arrest affidavit.
A second deputy responded and confirmed they were cannabis plants. The deputies got a search warrant and went into the home.
According to the affidavit, 19 cannabis plants were found, as well as instructional books on how to grow marijuana (source, full story).
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents illegal searches and seizures and is one of the most fundamental rights an American citizen has. Although this is a fundamental right shared by all Americans, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, so it pays to understand how and when the police may search you and seize your property in accordance with the law.
Fourth Amendment Rights Regarding Search and Seizure
The fourth amendment seeks to protect the privacy rights of private citizens from government officials. The terms illegal search and seizure only apply to law enforcement or government officials, and in many instances it may be illegal, other private citizens, such as your landlord, employer, or even private security personnel have free range in invading your privacy, if they are prepared to accept any criminal penalties applicable to their actions.
The specific terminology of the amendment provides protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures”. Immediately following this, however, the amendment provides government officials the right to conduct search and seizure if “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (source).
Florida Laws: FL Statutes
933.02 Grounds for issuance of search warrant (source).
Upon proper affidavits being made, a search warrant may be issued under the provisions of this chapter upon any of the following grounds:
(1) When the property shall have been stolen or embezzled in violation of law;
(2) When any property shall have been used:
(a) As a means to commit any crime;
(b) In connection with gambling, gambling implements and appliances; or
(c) In violation of s. 847.011 or other laws in reference to obscene prints and literature;
(3) When any property constitutes evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed;
(4) When any property is being held or possessed:
(a) In violation of any of the laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors;
(b) In violation of the fish and game laws;
(c) In violation of the laws relative to food and drug; or
(d) In violation of the laws relative to citrus disease pursuant to ss. 581.184 and 581.1845; or
(5) When the laws in relation to cruelty to animals, as provided in chapter 828, have been or are violated in any particular building or place.
Illegally Obtained Evidence
What happens to the evidence that was seized?
Evidenced discovered by an illegal search and seizure is generally inadmissible in court under what is known as the “exclusionary rule”. This means that even if the murder weapon was found and can conclusively establish that a suspect killed someone, if it was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, then it is generally not admissible.
Discovering Grow Houses
Many drug cases involve an informant. The police will send an undercover agent or use someone to enter in the house and look around for signs of mass production of Marijuana. Police also discover grow houses by noticing a sharp increase in energy bills. Growing Marijuana plants requires a large amount of light and heat. This spikes energy needs and alerts energy companies and law enforcement about suspicious activity.
Our defense team has a thorough understanding of how law enforcement officials discover grow houses and what evidence is needed to prosecute our clients. If any evidence is obtained through illegal search and seizure or obtained by police trickery, we will file a motion to suppress the evidence and to dismiss the case.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.