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Lucky Break for Missouri Professor Who Made Bad Joke That Led to Arrest for Growing Pot

cannabis_plant.jpg
Bastique/Wikimedia
A Missouri communications professor who broke the first rule of modern-day communications -- don't joke on Facebook about killing people -- got busted for growing marijuana. But the loose-lipped, green-thumbed prof got a break when a judge quashed the search warrant that led to the discovery of the homegrown operation.

The story started in August of last year when Matthew Rouch, who teaches at Northwest Missouri State, decided he'd do a little comedy. According to the Associated Press, Rouch responded to a colleague's post that he's always optimistic at the beginning of the semester, but "By October, I'll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle with a good scope, and probably a gatling gun as well."

See also: Southern Illinois Man Admits to Growing 100+ Pot Plants

The remark led to a search warrant one week later to find any firearms that could be used for a Charles Whitman-like massacre. But the only weapon found in Rouch's home was a pellet gun.

matt.rouch.jpg
Facebook/I Support Matt Rouch
Matt Rouch

Police did, however, find a grow operation and more than 35 grams of processed marijuana -- a felony in Missouri.

Rouch ended up being arrested for felony production of a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. But he recently filed a motion to quash the search warrant and suppress the evidence. And earlier this week, his wish was granted by Judge Robert Prokes, who apparently has a deep understanding of comedy. Here's how Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice -- who isn't happy -- breaks it down to radio station KMA:

"The judge's opined opinion was that the defendant was clearly joking, therefore, the information we had about the comments he made and the judge's opinion being joking was insufficient to establish probable cause that a crime was committed and therefore we did not have the necessary legal cause to then have a search warrant to go search his house. So what he is saying is we shouldn't have gotten a search warrant in the first place that we were awarded from Judge Glen Dietrich.

And therefore because that wasn't a legally appropriate search warrant in Judge Prokes's mind, therefore the search was unconstitutional and anything collected from that search warrant is inadmissible."

Rice plans to appeal.

"Honestly my reaction to the judge's decision is I'm mad as hell," he says.

See also: St. Louisan Owns Marijuana Dispensary in Colorado and Hopes Missouri Legalizes, Too

Rouch, meanwhile, was removed from his position after the arrest and was replaced earlier this year, reports the Northwest Missourian.

According to RateMyProfessor.com, he was a popular teacher with a 4 out of 5 rating. But of course, the latest "review" claims Rouch "seemed more interested in botany."

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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15 comments
FearTheRight
FearTheRight

You must not be terribly familiar with Facebook.  Folks make death threats all day long--especially on "Conservative' pages.

labelbro
labelbro

I hope Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice chokes to death on a giant fucking penis.  Oh wait, you gonna try and arrest me now too for that "death threat", asshole?

Philip Nations
Philip Nations

preachhhhhhh my man preach it, Im not even a conservative and I like the rights people have given their LIFE for. Amen.

Brian Wittling
Brian Wittling

even if the warrant was good.. last time I checked, plants are not guns.

Robert L Massie Sr
Robert L Massie Sr

I'm tired of hearing about pot. I personally hate the stuff, but just legalize it so I don't have to hear about it anymore.

Joseph Welch
Joseph Welch

That wasn't a freebie, that was the fucking 4th Amendment.

peppy
peppy

"honestly my reaction to the judge's decision is i'm mad as hell" - prosecuting attorney. imagine how the guy who was the subject of an unconstitutional search and seizure feels...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@labelbro ... they'll search your pants for that "giant fucking penis".


Better stash it, bro.

witchwindy
witchwindy

Exactly, unless the warrant listed cannabis plants, paraphernalia, and processed cannabis the cops had absolutely NO right to take any of that or charge him with a crime on that warrant.  They would have had to leave after finding no guns and go to the judge, again, to get another warrant to confiscate the plants and charge him with a crime.

BearcatDude
BearcatDude

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Obviously the original judge disagrees with you. I have a feeling that this judges decision will get tossed out - but like I said, we will just have to wait and see how this plays out.

BearcatDude
BearcatDude

@witchwindy Wrong. If while executing a search warrant, illegal activity is observed, they don't have to go get another search warrant. In fact that opens up the cops to be even more thorough in their investigation than what the original search warrant is issued for.

witchwindy
witchwindy

@BearcatDude @witchwindy Have you read the 4th Amendment? It has NEVER been repealed, I suggest you read it before you go on your next "warranted search".

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