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Tennessee vs. Josh Mason: Blatant, Legal Extortion

Mason Family
Josh Mason and his family pose for a photograph.


Tennessee vs. Josh Mason: Blatant, Legal Extortion

“I was sleeping in a little that day, around 8:30 a.m. I was awakened by a loud sound, like an explosion. Before I could even open my eyes, I was slammed on the floor and told not to move. The officer had his knee in my back. I was face down in dog urine (where they had scared my dog) so I tried to raise my head. At that moment I was hit in the back of the head with the barrel of an assault rifle, and told not to move. I was dazed. They kept screaming at me, ‘Where are the guns and pipe bombs?’”

“I was then cuffed and brought to my door, that was when I realized that these were cops. There, an officer met me and said they had a warrant and flashed a piece of paper. He then told me they were going to search the property.”

Josh Mason’s home was raided last March. Mason is being accused of planting a cannabis garden in the non-medical state of Tennessee; an accusation he understands carries significant risk in his state. Mason suffers from depression and anxiety, his wife is also very ill.

One of the fundamental rights citizens have in the American judicial system is the warrant. In order to obtain a warrant, officers of the law must prove to a judge they have “probable cause” by showing evidence of a crime. A warrantless search is unconstitutional, and details are important. A single flaw on a warrant can and most would argue, should, get a case thrown out.

Mason contends he has no idea how allegations were made against him and that the warrant was for the house two doors down, his sister’s house. He was not given the opportunity to review the warrant until well after the property was searched and he was sitting in the local jail.

His then 2-year-old daughter was present during the raid.

“My daughter saw it all and was very much hurt by all this. After seeing all this they told my wife, who was not charged, that they needed her to fill out some paperwork at the jail, that it was no big deal, so she had a friend take her and my little girl to the jail.”

“When she got there, a lady was there from Child [Protective] Services (CPS) and at that point my wife was already going crazy. The lady asked her to sign a piece of paper. My wife was then asked to take a drug test, she did, and they took my daughter away, and gave custody to my sister.”

Mason says he and his wife were only permitted to see their young daughter one hour per day and that she would cry and beg to come home at the end of each visit. The Masons had to reluctantly tell their daughter “no” at the end of each visit. CPS eventually returned the child to the Masons after four months.

Josh was arrested and taken to jail on charges of, in his words, “manufacturing, and in Tennessee that comes with intent to distribute. They also charged me with paraphernalia.”

He was released on bond the following day, after a bail bondsmen took compassion for his situation, causing an immediate reaction within the local judicial system. The judge assigned to the case assumed this meant he could afford a lawyer and denied him a Public Defender, even though he financially qualifies.

Mason retained counsel as soon as possible but when he did, a public defender came to him offering a deal. The public defender said the deal included a $500 fine and a misdemeanor, but he could otherwise remain free.  Mason agreed but was never told what he would have to provide in exchange, he says he still doesn’t know. When the judge heard that Mason had retained paid counsel, the mystery deal was ripped off of the table. He still doesn’t know why a public defender even originally offered it.

The deal was put back on the table with his new lawyer, but with added stipulations.  If he could pay $4,000 to the Lincoln County Drug Fund then he could still get the original deal. If he couldn’t pay the $4,000 then he would be taken to trial and would face the maximum sentence in the state for his crime, 15 years in prison.

Mason says he was offered his freedom in exchange for $4,500 and that if he couldn’t come up with the money he would face prison time.

He took to social media to explain that he needs help raising the money, calling it “extortion.” The prosecution was alerted to his fundraiser and it quickly went through the District Attorney’s office, to the judge and the entire police force.  The deal was revoked, but his lawyers and the judge encouraged him to continue to find a way to come up with the money.

He was told using the term “extortion” was what got the deal revoked but if he could keep raising the $4,000 for the Drug Fund, and presented it at court on Jan. 6, perhaps the deal would be back on the table. His lawyer advised him to come up with the money, but not to call it “extortion.”

In the meantime, there is no warrant on file or presented to Mason with his actual address, justifying the raid that uncovered the garden. Mason was never given the discovery in his case, the evidence gathered to request a judge sign off on the warrant. Mason’s attorney has stated he would abandon the case if it is taken to trial, his next court date is Mar. 3, 2014.


Mason is seeking a pro-bono lawyer, or funding for a good lawyer in the area. Suggestions and referrals are welcome.

Donate to his legal fund:



  1. julie mckendree

    May 1, 2014 at 8:26 am

    We live in a Police state. The US is not a free country. We are guilty until proven innocent if we are lucky to have the cash to grease the legal wheel. The easy people are targeted. The ones who work a job, own a home are part of the community. People wake up,the cops are not here to protect and serve, they are here to harass and bust down our doors even if they have the wrong information. Our constitutional rights are gone. The fat cats in Washington are running the show and could give a rats a** about the people and we are letting them get away with it all!!!! WE THE PEOPLE need to take our rights back! My father fought for our freedom and died for our freedom!Our men and women now are fighting for oil. The only people who are benefiting overseas is Bush, Chaney Bros. and any of the other billionaires who have government contracts, they all are in bed with each other. Look at Florida they have a crook as a Governor. Look who is voted into the White house. Look at the Supreme Court there is no age limit they are so old are they even breathing! The congress and the senate please they are either muli-millionaires or billionaires do you really think they care about the country? They have so much GOLD because our money isn’t worth the paper it is written on, in the thirties the law went house to house and took Gold or anything of value and the people. We the people who saved stood in bread lines to help feed our families. Well all of you people who think you live in a safe land and drive your Hummers because you can like you give a rats a** about our plant or your children or neighbor you are going to have areal wake up call when Big Brother comes knocking at your door! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! LETS TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY OUR GOD GIVEN FREEDOM!!! We left England for our freedom for our beliefs! Now we have to be careful about voicing our opinion about any religious group that has infiltrated our country because they will be offended screw that don’t like it . GO BACK FROM WHERE YOU CAME FROM CA– USE WE DON’T WANT YOU! We take care of everybody else except our own. Move to Mexico and see what kind of hand outs their Government gives you. NOTHING!!!!! I’m sure after this rant of mine I’ll have Big Brother Knock knock knocking at my door! Got something for them! FREEDOM “William Wallace”

  2. Kim Hipps

    February 27, 2014 at 7:43 am

    It is Extortion! That’s exactly what it is and to call it anything else is a lie!
    Went through it myself in 2009 after passing out biz cards to get the Southern Alliance For Medical Marijuana going. They showed up at my door for a “Talk and knock” with my biz card while I was very very sick with the flu and I have MS so a flu bug hits me twice as hard as anybody else. They “SAID” they smelled pot when I opened the door, the liars. It cost me thousands just to try and prove my innocence. They thought they were going to make some big drug bust that day but all they got was some “Paraphanelia” and some personal stash but they also took my vacation cash I had stashed since it looked like I was a “drug dealer” having that cash in an envelope in my house. I had $1500 in cash saved. They made me a misdemeanor criminal because I dared to become an activist and treat my illness the way I felt best for me. It hasn’t stopped me. It’s only made me more determined and more bold.
    Blessings to you and your family! Our time is coming! Hang in there!
    Kim West Hipps
    Nashville, TN

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