Oral arguments in “pot butter” case heard in Kent County

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Mike Frederick (left) and Todd Van Doorne (right), former Kent County correctional officers. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled the 'knock-and-talk' used in their cases was unconstitutional.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The case against two former Kent County deputies and card-carrying medical marijuana patients, which a judge and their attorneys have called “tortured,” may be nearing an end.

Friday afternoon, Judge Dennis Leiber of the 17th Circuit Court heard oral arguments for the remaining portion of the infamous “pot butter” case. Since March 2014 former deputies of up to 23 years, Todd Van Doorne and Michael Frederick, have had their case appealed up to the Michigan Supreme Court.

In June, the Michigan Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled in favor of Van Doorne and Frederick determining the so-called “knock and talks” police used at their family homes, early in the morning without a search warrant, were illegal and violated their Fourth Amendment rights. However, the high court did not give a complete ruling: justices remanded the issue of “attenuation,” or if their consent to search their homes that morning was valid, back to Kent County Circuit Court.

Friday afternoon in Kent County, attorneys for Van Doorne and Frederick argued to throw out the evidence against them in this case-namely the pot butter-stating their consent in March 2014 was coerced.

On March 18, 2014, at around 4:00 a.m. then 5:30 a.m., seven Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team officers, including two of the deputies’ superiors, dressed in tactical gear and went to the family homes of Frederick then Van Doorne. They conducted knock and talks on suspicion of marijuana butter. Asking to search their homes, Frederick and Van Doorne consented to their then superiors, and officers searched and seized marijuana products from the medical marijuana card-carrying patients.

Friday, Judge Leiber said he will issue a written opinion on the matter of attenuation at a later date.

Meanwhile, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker tells FOX 17 at this time he and his team will not file briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court for review, which was initially proposed this summer.

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