Growing tomatoes in Kansas led to SWAT-style weed raid. Judge says gardeners can sue

WICHITA, Kan. — A SWAT-style raid to search for marijuana at the home of a Kansas City couple was an unjustified government intrusion based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation and a publicity stunt, a federal appeals court judge wrote Tuesday in a decision that reinstated their lawsuit.

Robert and Adlynn Harte sued the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office after the 2012 raid at their Leawood home. Authorities targeted the Hartes, both former CIA employees, after seeing Robert Harte leaving a store that sold hydroponic gardening equipment.

Officers armed with assault rifles raided the couple’s home, finding only tomato plants the family was growing with the hydroponic equipment.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2015 but a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated parts of it. Each of the appeals judges wrote separate opinions outlining their reasoning, and Judge Carlos Lucero had an unusually passionate and…

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