Jennifer Scherr sued two Chicago cops and the city for privacy violations after her house was raided for medical marijuana. Jennifer had tended to medical marijuana plants when her daughter was living. Her father-in-law, a Chicago cop, allegedly helped her tend the marijuana. Like Jennifer, Curtis Scherr hoped that the cannabis oil from the marijuana plants might extend seven-year-old Liza’s life. Liza was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor in 2011. At that time, medical marijuana was illegal.
Curtis Scherr reportedly purchased the special grow lights required by medical marijuana plants. He also, according to Reason.com, stopped by Jennifer’s house to check in on the medical marijuana plants.
In July 2012, only several days after Liza lost her battle with the brain cancer, Curtis was said to narc his daughter-in-law out to the DEA. The grieving grandfather filed a search warrant of Jennifer’s home. The DEA agents raided the woman’s home just weeks after she buried her daughter. Fortunately for Jennifer, she had already thrown out the medical marijuana plants when her daughter died. The search turned up nothing.
The grandfather decided to narc Jennifer out after a disagreement involving funeral arrangements, according to Jennifer. Appalled at her father-in-law’s actions, she sued the cops involved and the City of Chicago claiming they violated her Fourth Amendment rights.
The judge who heard the lawsuit at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled this month that the search for narcotics did not violate her rights. Marijuana was illegal at that time, and regardless of Curtis’ motives, he did have good reason to believe she had marijuana in her home. Judge Posner did state that the grandfather’s behavior was atrocious. The judge also said that the cop’s failure to disclose his relationship to Jennifer on the warrant application was misleading. The judge even said that if the cop had mentioned in the warrant application that Jennifer was his daughter-in-law, the search probably never would have been approved.
Regardless, Posner wrote:
“…a police officer’s motive in applying for a warrant does not invalidate the warrant.”
The judge then explained to Jennifer that she would have had better luck in a civil suit claiming her father-in-law intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Posner said, “…there is little doubt (always assuming the truth of the allegations in the complaint) that Curtis Scherr intended to inflict severe emotional distress on his daughter-in-law and succeeded in doing so.”
The cop decided to narc out his daughter-in law, not because of his oath to uphold the law, the judge said, but for revenge.