Bitcoin Miner Claims False Marijuana Assumption Caused Unconstitutional Search of His Home

News | April 24, 2024 By:

On Thursday, April 11, 2024, Brian Decker filed a second amended complaint against the County of Sacramento, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), City of Rancho Cordova Police Department, and several individuals for damages arising from an incident on October 23, 2020.

According to the complaint, Decker was sleeping at his home in Rancho Cordova around 7 AM when police arrived with lights and sirens, using a horn-type sound to wake the neighborhood. Officers had multiple guns drawn and pointed at the house, ordering Decker to come out with his hands up. In his underwear and with no time to dress, Decker was forced to walk backward out of his home at gunpoint and was immediately handcuffed and detained for two hours while police searched his home.

The complaint alleges the search warrant was based on false and reckless information provided by SMUD employee Robert Duggan without properly verifying details. In November 2019, Decker’s solar contractor applied to SMUD for approval to install a large solar power system at Decker’s home to help offset electricity costs for his cryptocurrency mining business, which requires extensive computer systems.

Emails submitted with the complaint show SMUD approved the solar plans after Decker explained the intended large capacity to an SMUD representative. However, when Duggan told police Decker’s home was cycling large amounts of power without checking SMUD’s own records, it launched the incorrect assumption he was growing marijuana. The complaint argues none of the agencies took steps to investigate or confirm the tip before obtaining the search warrant.

The second amended complaint alleges seven causes of action including false arrest, invasion of privacy, trespass, abuse of process, violations of civil rights laws, negligence, and damage to Decker’s home during the search. Decker is seeking unspecified damages.

The case raises issues around due diligence by law enforcement when receiving unverified tips and the responsibility of utility companies to provide full context about customers to avoid inaccurate assumptions. It also highlights potential misunderstandings that can arise from newer technologies like cryptocurrency mining if agencies do not consider them in their evaluations. Decker’s lawsuit seeks to hold these public bodies accountable for allegedly failing to properly investigate before invading his privacy and subjecting him to unnecessary trauma and humiliation.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.