David Shepherd West, criminal defense attorney who is well-known for his experience in drug crimes, acts for his client, who has cultivated 190 marijuana plants in the basement of his house.
Everything has started with a simple car accident in Cobb County. A driver crashed in front of Sheldon Mitchell`s (West`s client) house. In several minutes the police came to the scene of an accident to gather the driver`s information.
In spite of the fact that he had perpetrated no crime but crashing his own car the police took a decision to make an extensive search with dogs of contiguous properties, although the driver`s address was a mile away.
According to police, after two hours search they heard a branch break behind Mr. Mitchell`s house. It is important to say that the house is located 450 feet from the road.
At 1.30 a.m. police began to search near Mr. Mitchell`s house as they said because there were “exigent emergency circumstances”.
As they came closer to the house the dog “pulled away” to the basement. Mr. Mitchell was angry that police had come on his property with dogs. He withheld consent to search. After the police got a search warrant they came back and revealed Mr. Mitchell was cultivating cannabis in his basement.
David West issued a motion in the Superior Court of Cobb County stating the search of Mr. Mitchell`s property at 1.30 a.m. was illegal. According to David West, police walking around homes with drug dogs also was illegal, as it is a violation of the 4th Amendment.
But nevertheless judge Adele Grubbs considered the police did quite right and sentenced Mr. Mitchell to five years in prison. The attorney immediately lodged an appeal.
Later, the Georgia Court of Appeals stated that the search with dogs was absolutely illegal. The police violated Mr. Mitchell`s rights “to be free from unreasonable searches.”
On his Facebook page David Shepherd West said: “Totally kick ass news and another win against illegal police searches of home grown marijuana.”But now the state filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia to prove the police acted according to the law.
Mr. West is a member of NORML and supports marijuana legalization.