It Is Okay to Not Be Funny

It Is Okay to Not Be Funny

by | Jul 22, 2014 | Criminal Law, Fourth Amendment

Many people are not funny.

Not me, I’m hilarious. Many people out there however, are not funny. They make poor jokes, jokes that fall flat.

But that is not, or at least shouldn’t be, a crime.

Seems a professor there made a tasteless joke. A local law enforcement agent requested a search warrant, based on the joke. A judge, relying on the officer’s representation, signed off on the warrant.

The warrant was to search for weapons, including a “gatling gun.” Fun little aside, gatling guns are either Civil War Era relics, or a current piece of military technology of which there are approximately 11 that are legal to own. 11 of the civilian-legal gatling/mini-guns in the county. The going rate for one is about $400,000. None of those were found when the home was searched. Nor any firearms. Just a lone pellet gun.

And a bunch of marijuana.

The professor sought to surpress the marijuana, and a judge agreed. The judge found that he officer knew that the horrible, tasteless, not-funny joke was a joke, but did not make that clear in the search warrant. Had the officer included the full context, the judge wouldn’t have issued the warrant.

There is an odd coincidence here. Police see a joke, know it is a joke, draft a search warrant without acknowledging it is a joke, and just happen to find evidence of other crimes?

I’ll just leave that out there for right now. The point is, Circuit Judge Roger Prokes got it right. He found that the police cannot cut and choose what they want to fashion a warrant application that will squeak by a judge. Call it like it is, that is lying by omission. If only more judges did that, we’d all be better off.