A Nashville , Tn. couple was arrested this week on charges of manufacturing marijuana and possession of marijuana within a 1000 feet of a school zone. Metro Nashville Police discovered a large marijuana growing operation this week. A police officer noticed the smell during a DUI traffic stop. The smell was traced to a house in East Nashville. Police knocked on the door. No answer. Then , the police got a search warrant. Bingo. Marijuana , grow lights and all sorts of growing tools were discovered.There are two points that make this case worthy of comment.
First , the issue is whether the smell of marijuana alone justifies the issuance of a search warrant. The California Court of appeals addressed this very issue this week. The court held ;
"Was the warrantless search justified based on smell alone?" wrote Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District Court of Appeal in Ventura. "Not according to the California Supreme Court. To smell it is not the same as to see it."
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out . From , my reading of The Tennessean article by Andy Humbles and Nicole Young , it appears there was no other evidence to issue the search warrant other than the smell. If there is nothing else , I predict the search warrant may be invalid.
Secondly , does a citizen have to answer the door if police knock ? No. A citizen has no duty to open the door for the police absent a search warrant or arrest warrant. One of the most popular police tactics is the " Knock and Talk ". Police knock on the door. Ask to come in and then they look around or ask for consent to search. Just like a door to door salesman , you do not legally have to answer or let them in.
One question I have is how far was the house from the DUI stop.