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Butter Case Goes To Coa Over Knock And Talk


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court of appeals is not very friendly.

this is an uphill battle, fired from the job, years in court. is the lawyer wasting time on something hes going to lose? instead of going for a slam dunk sec8 ? is he buying time for other cases to finish in the msc to have an easier sec8?

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But in an order made public Saturday, April 11, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the State Court of Appeals to consider whether the actions of KANET are consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


When contacted Saturday, April 11, Block said that he was "pleased the Supreme Court recognized the importance of this case. A home enjoys the highest Constitutional protection and must be kept free from unnecessary, middle of the night police intrusions such as occurred in this case. "



i think its good for this case to proceed.  LEO should NOT be allowed to pull some BS like that in our home if it was a casual conversation then it would take place in the daytime.

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The MLive comments are illuminating, especially from those whose only rationale for supporting Prohibition is "it's the law".


Yes, Prohibition is the law currently. So was slavery. Laws and circumstances change.


Justifying anything by saying "it's the law" is meaningless, especially when a majority would vote to overturn Prohibition if given the chance.

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  • 7 months later...

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The State Court of Appeals will let stand the so-called 'knock and talk" interviews of former Kent County corrections officers that led to charges of marijuana law offenses.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said it will not throw out the late night interrogations of former Kent County sheriff's deputies Todd VanDoorne and Michael Frederick.

The two have been charged with illegally possessing marijuana-infused butter -- charges that ended their careers and have them facing prison.

On March 18, 2014, members of the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team showed up at Frederick's home at 4 a.m. and at VanDoorne's home about an hour later.

KANET officers testified they decided against getting warrants in order to protect the corrections officers from publicity that would result in the public swearing out of warrants.

Under the unwritten rules of a "knock and talk," police show up at a person's home and the person is free to refuse to talk to police or allow police into the home.

But the corrections officers say they believed they were required to cooperate with a 
police investigation because they are deputies with Kent County. 

VanDoorne's attorney, Bruce Block, said the "knock and talk" is supposed to be no different than any other unsolicited visit to a home by a Girl Scout selling cookies, a vacuum cleaner salesperson or an evangelist and, therefore is not done at 4 a.m.

Block says there is no clear law stating when a "knock and talk" is proper, but other similar late-night examples have been invalidated by other courts.

However, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber concluded that KANET officers at no time indicated that the questioning was part of an internal affairs investigation and the corrections officers were never threatened or deceived into giving up their rights.

In April, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeals to consider whether the actions of KANET are consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Appeals Court Judges Michael Talbot and Kirsten Frank Kelly determined that although the interviews were done in the wee hours of the morning, the suspects were free to refuse to answer questions or admit entry without a warrant.

The decision is published, meaning it is meant to provide guidance for lower courts looking at the issue.

The court rejected the defense that the officers felt compelled to answer because of the nature of their jobs. The two judges also determined that the investigating officers acted properly in how they approached the suspects.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Deborah Servitto agreed with the defense that the time of the interrogations and the fact that the suspects were questioned by superior officers meant that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

Servitto said the evidence gathered as a result should be suppressed.
In lengthy opinions, both sides relied on the same case law to reach its conclusions.
Attorney Block said it was like referees looking at the same play and making different calls.

Block said the decision is a major blow to his defense, but he has the option to ask the State Supreme Court to look at the case, which he says is about more than just his client, but the very way Michigan courts regard reasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment.

"I'm obviously very disappointed," Block said. "The dissent got it right."

Now, the remaining defendants will await Judge Leiber's decision on whether they are protected under the tenets of the Michigan Marijuana Act. No new court dates have been scheduled.

A year ago, fellow former corrections officer Brian Tennant, a 20-year veteran of the Kent County Sheriff's Department, was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine as part of a plea deal where he agreed to testify against his former co-workers.

A fourth officer charged, 49-year-old Timothy Bernhardt, committed suicide after pleading guilty to drug charges last year.



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  • 8 months later...

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