Think about it, our homes are our last refuge from the world. The one place in life where you'd hope to find rest, relaxation and peace. Yet rather than get a search warrant a Deputy lied to members of a Pinellas County family to clandestinely search for evidence of crime - marijuana plants in a home, which were not found.
"I was appalled by it," Pinellas Conty Sheriff Gualtieri said Wednesday according to the Tampa Bay Times. "I think it's wrong. It's not what we should have been doing at all."
The Sheriff claims not to know what was going on. If he doesn't know what his Deputies are doing he shouldn't be the Sheriff. If he did know he and all of the Deputies who took part in this should be charged with crimes, including what you and I would be charged with, Burglary or Trespass or Identity Theft. It's not the first time the Sheriff has had to apologize for his Deputies conduct. A few months ago this Blog noted that Sheriff's undercover Deputies were giving false information to gain search warrants, using inappropriate video surveillance techniques and following shoppers at a horticultural store to look for evidence of pot growing all of which should not only offend your favorite Clearwater Drug Crime Attorney, but every citizen who understands that we must stand up for our freedom as Americans.
Maybe our Sheriff should read the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. constitution, as that shredded piece of paper up in Washington still has some value as an historic relic even if law enforcement ignores the rights enumerated within or the Sheriff could read the Florida Statute below which he swore to Defend, then read it out loud so that one or two of his Deputies may hear it. The statute protects Floridians from unreasonable seizures and searches as only upon a showing of probable cause to a Judge based on an affidavit and sworn testimony then and only then can the sanctity of a Floridian's home be violated :
Florida Statute 933.04 Affidavits.--The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches shall not be violated and no search warrant shall be issued except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation particularly describing the place to be searched and the person and thing to be seized. (for the complete Florida Law on search warrants and their proper application by law enforcement see, Chapter 933 Search & Inspection Warrants)
Maybe the real problem here is that there is not enough real crime for these Deputies and for our head in the sands Sheriff to uncover. Maybe we need to slash the budget of the Sheriff's Department to reflect the real needs of our community - protection from violent crime such as rape, armed robberies and burglaries - especially those not carried out by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department, also known as PCSO.
The Sheriff proudly wears his Utility Uniform.
|Vincent van Gogh, At Eternity's Gate, 1890|