Sunday, January 13, 2019

Kyllo v. United States case brief

Kyllo v. United States case brief summary 

Officer Elliot came to suspect that "weed" was being grown in Kyllo’s home.  The officer used thermal imagery to see if weed lamps were being used. The scan took a few minutes from the passenger seat of the police car. 

•Based on the informants' utility bills, the thermal imagery the magistrate issued a warrant authorizing a search.

Issue:  Are the officers on a public street engaging in more than naked-eye surveillance of a home?

•We do not know if there was probable cause.
•Obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any info regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical intrusion into a constitutionally protected area constitutes a SEARCH 

Yes, there is a search

•Is the technology in general public use?

If the general public has access to the technology, the respondent has no reasonable expectation of privacy to the heat he is putting off.  It is like how helicopters or drones are generally in public use therefore if you want privacy to put a roof on your grow house

The court ties privacy to the general use of technology.
Government says: it only detects heat radiating from the external surface of the house

Any physical invasion of home even by an inch is too much.  If we allowed this we would never know if the police would pick up intimate info or not.  This is an unlawful search.

The observations were off the wall: the exterior of the home
It did not constitute a physical penetration into the premises

1 comment:

  1. There is no doubt at all in my mind that this was an unlawful search, even before reading the case. It's beyond absurd that a police officer and go and acquire advanced technology to spy on a person in their own home. Yes, basically looking through a person's walls in their house is a search. Duh!

    Sadly, most people won't have the resources to argue these kinds of cases and when they go in front of the judge, they will just say "I'm guilty your honor, go easy on me!"

    And then lock up happens! Criminal Law is something that should be offered as a course in high school. Everyone needs to learn this kind of stuff.

    This class is such an eye opener!!


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