The search warrant served on the Sages' home stemmed from an affidavit in support of a search warrant filed by Arcata Police Officer Brian Hoffman -- who is specifically named as a defendant in the suit -- asserting that there was probable cause to believe the Sages were committing a felony.
Acting on a tip from an unnamed “state park employee” who reported that he commonly smelled growing marijuana coming from the Sages' residence, Hoffman stated that he went down to the Sages' Zehndner Avenue home and smelled a “strong odor of growing marijuana emanating from the residence” on May 1.
Hoffman states in the affidavit that he then got a search warrant for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. records, which indicated the household's electrical usage ranged from 2,796 kilowatt hours to 5,362 kilowatt hours in each of the three prior months.
The officer submitted the affidavit -- which was signed off on by Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Max Cardoza -- and received a search warrant signed by Judge Dale Reinholtsen the same day.
When officers served the search warrant about two weeks later, they found no marijuana -- growing or processed -- and Sage claims no marijuana had been in her residence since May 5, 2011.
Sage's complaint argues that Hoffman and his fellow officers took no steps to investigate whether the Sages' grow fell within the guidelines of Arcata's medical marijuana ordinance and had no facts to suggest a felony was being committed.
I don't know about you, but I had some sympathy for these people, until I got to the part that shows who is involved here.