By: Kyle James | 09-23-2017 | News
Photo credit: The Goldwater

77-Year-Old Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison After Detectives Illegally Stumble Upon His Marijuana

A 77-year-old Springfield, Montana man has been handed a sentence that will likely see him die in prison. Charles Frederick White was given a 10-year prison sentence, for hurting someone? or robbing a bank? No. For marijuana. A series of unfortunate events led police to arrest White who hadn't done anything wrong except for grow marijuana on his property.

<img src="" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">

<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Greene County Sheriff's Office</span>

It all started when a woman called the sheriff's office in December and told them that her identity had been stolen. The thief was opening new credit cards in the woman's name and they were being sent to an address in Polk County. The detectives couldn't find the address the credit cards were going to because of how rural the area is so they stopped by the next closest address which happened to be the home of Charles Frederick White. The detectives drove up to White's long driveway and observed a freshly cut lawn, a neatly trimmed flowerbed, a porch with a wrap around screen and the sour musk of fresh marijuana.

A 71-year-old White approached the detectives with a raccoon hunting headlamp and spoke with them briefly before they left passing a security camera on the way out. Investigators obtained a search warrant which investigators used to discover 1,700 marijuana plants on his property. Eventually, White was arrested and went through a long court process. Judge Douglas Harpool said he struggled with his decision to sentence White to 10 years in prison, he even said he researched ways to give him less but in the end, the outdated laws of Montana forced him to impose the 10-year minimum sentence.

Judge Harpool said, "This is not a sentence I feel particularly good about." White's attorneys argued that he was unfairly targeted by authorities who never should have been on his property and trampled his constitutional rights. White says he had a no trespassing sign on his property as well as a closed gate that the detectives had to pass through in order to get on his property. Two of White's neighbors even testified that after living next to him for years they had never once seen his gate left open.

Court records show that detectives visited White's property twice before obtaining a search warrant. White later hired a new attorney who argued if the federal government was allowing marijuana to be legalized in some states like Colorado, Washington, and California, then it was a violation of White's 14th Amendment rights to apply the law to White when it wouldn't be applied in another state.

A friend of White, Robert Murphy, said that the officers went onto his property illegally, "He's a farmer. He's always been a farmer. When he was busted, he was busted illegally."

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