Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

freak out at phish concertThe Kinks got it right in their song, “Destroyer,” when they sang that paranoia will destroy ya.

It certainly did so for the defendant in a case where, after getting paranoid at a 1999 Phish concert in Oswega, NY, presumably while under the influence of an hallucinogenic drug, he became convinced the police were following him and that the band was sending him messages through the music. Fleeing the concert, he traveled 250 miles on foot and by hitch-hiking, convinced the police were after him the whole way. (He believed that every car with an “A” in the license number contained police officers.)

Some thirty-six hours later, he finally turned up at the police barracks in Westport, NY, where he told an investigator, “You know who I am.” When the cops didn’t know who he was or why he was there, he told them he was growing marijuana plants back at his home in Rochester, NH. He then consented to a search of the house.

When the cops in Rochester searched the house, they found marijuana plants and liquid acid. Though a New Hampshire Superior Court ultimately ruled that the evidence should be suppressed (because of insufficient proof the defendant received and waived his Miranda rights), the University of Memphis law student who sent me this opinion correctly opined that it should serve as “a gentle reminder to any students planning to reunite with Phish over the summer break.”

State v. Augur, Case Nos. 01-S-388, 01-S-389, 2001 N.H. Super. LEXIS 17 (N.H. Super. Ct., Oct. 22, 2001). Thanks to Adam Ragan.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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