Opinion of the Court. NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are. Full-length feature article on Kyllo v. United States, which was heard by the United States Supreme Court in February Drawn from the full-text version of. In Agent William Elliott of the United States Department of. Interior began to suspect that Danny Kyllo was using his home for the indoor cultivation of.

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Illinois Minnesota v. Board of Chosen Freeholders This Court has “never held that potential, as opposed to actual, invasions of privacy constitute searches for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. United States, U.

With few exceptions, the question whether a warrantless search of a home is reasonable and hence constitutional must be answered no. Karo is therefore inapposite here. As both courts below found, the imager did not literally or figuratively penetrate the walls of petitioner’s house and perceive private activities inside.

United States Marron v. In Karo, the beeper physically entered the house. United States Aguilar v. Agents executing the warrants at petitioner’s house found an indoor marijuana growing operation involving more than plants, weapons, and drug paraphernalia.

In addition, in order to obtain the most accurate reading, a person using a thermal imager would compare the building that is the subject of the scan to a building that is composed of similar materials. The majority in Katz made a similar observation about expectations of privacy in the home. Moreover, as discussed above, the relevant inquiry here is whether the government’s use of the thermal imager in this case constituted a search, not whether a thermal imager can be used in other ways that would constitute a search.


The court of appeals held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that Agent Elliott did not act knowingly or recklessly in making certain misstatements in the affidavit concerning petitioner’s electrical usage. The thermal imager does neither of those things; it reveals only the location of relatively hotter areas by scanning the exterior of a house.

But thermal imagers do not literally or figuratively penetrate the home and reveal private activities within. In particular, the roof above the garage and the side wall of petitioner’s house appear as either white or light gray, indicating that those areas are kylo warm.

Connor Scott v. Yet if, without technology, the police could not discern volume without being actually present in the phone booth, Justice Stevens should conclude a search has occurred. United States Murray v. We say such measurement is a search; the dissent says v.unitedd is not, because an inference is not a search.

Thermal imagers detect infrared radiation, which virtually all objects emit but which is not visible to the naked eye. Since Katz, this Court has not comprehensively articulated the principles for determining when technology intrudes on expectations of privacy such v.unied it constitutes a Fourth Amendment search. First, the government agent used the thermal imager from a public place-a public street near statee house. The people in their houses, as well as the police, deserve more precision.

United States Warden v.

Kyllo v. United States – Merits

First, f.united officers who make observations from a location where they lawfully have a right to be are not generally conducting a Fourth Amendment search. In an in-court demonstration, a thermal imager was pointed at a window, and it could not detect the person standing behind it.

If it uses a thermal scan and finds no evidence of abnormal heat, it may refrain from seeking a warrant at kylo and avoid an unnecessary intrusion into a house.


In a variety of circumstances, members of the public can draw inferences about heat sources within a building that are similar to the kind of inference drawn by the government in this case. Without the ability to use a thermal scan, the government might use the information it already has to obtain a warrant and enter the house. Alford Virginia v. Remedies Exclusionary rule Origins Adams v.

It has instead insisted that “Fourth Amendment cases must be decided on the facts of each case. The record in this case indicates that an imager can detect human activity through an open window; that some imagers can detect human activity through some kinds of closed windows; and that an imager may detect human activity through light curtains if a person is pressed up against them.

Gant Riley v. But the drawing of inferences about protected activities is not itself a “search.

White Minnesota v. California Aguilar v. Maroney Cardwell v.

Kyllo v. United States – Merits | OSG | Department of Justice

This page was last edited on 9 Octoberat United StatesU. Edmond Illinois v. United States Davis v. Warrant Requirement Steele v. The overflight cases are consistent with earlier decisions that permitted the government to rely on technology to observe an area exposed to the public that it could not have kyllo with the naked eye alone, provided v.hnited is no observation of private areas or activities. United States On Lee v.