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Man appeals search warrant based on Facebook post

A former professor with Northwest Missouri State University was apparently charged with drug possession following a search of his home. The search, however, was not related to drugs, and the professor filed a motion to appeal the search warrant. According to reports, the judge granted that motion, which invalidated the search warrant and caused all evidence seized during the search to be suppressed.

The case began when the professor made a joke on Facebook. The man reportedly posted a comment on a colleague's page, stating that he was optimistic about things at the beginning of each semester. However, the man jokingly said by mid-semester, he might be in a state to take a high-powered rifle into the bell tower.

The comment reportedly resulted in authorities seeking a search warrant for the man's home. The intent of the search warrant was to search for weapons on the premises. Allegedly, the authorities found marijuana instead.

According to reports, authorities seized grow lights, plants and bags of processes marijuana. The man's attorney argued that the initial comment on Facebook was obviously a joke, though perhaps a poor attempt at being funny. The attorney argued that if the context of the joke was made clear by those seeking the warrant, then a judge would likely not have issued the warrant that allowed the search.

The result of the argument is that the judge invalidated the warrant, causing a problem for the prosecution's case against the former professor. When seeking a criminal defense in any case, it's important to think outside of the box and evaluate any action that could provide relief against charges.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Former professor wins legal victory in Missouri marijuana case" Jul. 17, 2014

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