One more example of our eroding freedom. This could easily be one of us who has a greenhouse or an indoor fishtank vegetable/herb terrarium. http://athousandcuts.org/2008/06/04/tragedy-and-injustice-in-chesapeake/? Not surprisingly, Ryan Frederick was indicted by a grand jury yesterday for capital murder: A Chesapeake grand jury indicted the 28-year-old Portlock man Tuesday on charges of capital murder, use of a firearm during the commission of murder and manufacturing marijuana. Frederick is accused of “willfully, deliberately and premeditatedly” killing Detective Jarrod Shivers the night of Jan. 17 while Shivers and more than a dozen other officers executed a drug search warrant. Keep in mind, prosecutors hadn’t sought a capital murder charge against Frederick; the grand jury upgraded it from first-degree murder. The more serious charge means the state can seek the death penalty against Frederick. So many things have gone wrong with this case from the outset: The warrant was served on a tip that Frederick was running a massive pot-growing operation in his garage, but all the police found was a small amount of marijuana and no plants. However, Frederick, an avid amateur gardener, did have some young Japanese maples growing under lights, which do bear some resemblance to marijuana plants. Frederick’s home had been broken into just a few days before the police raid. Oh, and the informant whose tip led to the warrant? He committed the burglary on Frederick’s home. He also had credit card fraud charges pending against him, which were dropped just days before the raid. So based on information from a guy who broke into Frederick’s house and was facing jail time, the police busted in on the home of a man with no criminal record and had just dealt with a burglary, and the end result is a dead cop and another man facing lethal injection. Radley Balko summarizes more absurdities from the DA’s office: Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert pushed the unlikely theory yesterday that Frederick looked out his window, saw several police officers about to break into his home, heard them announce themselves as police, decided to shoot and kill just one of them, then surrendered. This is a guy who friends, former employers, neighbors and family describe as harmless and unconfrontational to the point of being meek. The idea that he’d knowingly kill a cop over a few joints is absurd. Frederick had a job he enjoyed, a record of steady employment and strong recommendations from supervisors, and he’d just gotten engaged. Again, hardly the profile of a cop killer with a death wish. The felony marijuana charge is even less comprehensible, apparently hinging on the fact that the police found equipment which can be used for indoor marijuana growing operations. Just as a wire coat hanger can be used to break into a car, I suppose. Does that make us all guilty of conspiracy to commit auto theft? The police performed little due diligence on their tip about Frederick: no controlled buys to determine if he was dealing, no observation of unusual traffic or activity in front of his house. Their background check revealed only traffic tickets. Yet this was enough for them to break down his door at night. It’s clear from all the charges they’ve thrown against him that the Chesapeake prosecutors are seeking a plea deal with Frederick. That’s the saddest part of this very sad case. Based on what we know so far, Ryan Frederick doesn’t deserve death for his actions, or even life in prison. He doesn’t deserve to be in jail at all. The police performed one of their most dangerous actions, a no-knock raid, based on very little evidence, and one of their officers was killed when the homeowner, quite understandably, chose to defend himself. The only possible bright side to this injustice is that the public in Chesapeake is not siding blindly with the cops. They are asking questions and wondering why the authorities won’t answer them. One can only hope this same skepticism will extend to the jury that will hear Frederick’s case.