Friday, May 4, 2012

Kyllo v. United States

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Kyllo v. United States

U.S. Supreme Court 001

Legal history

The petitoner asked to supress the evidence found in his house because it was an intrusion into his privacy, a violation of fourth ammendment rights. The Ninth circuit remanded to case to the district court which ruled not to supress evidence and Ninth circuit affirmed that decision.

Cheap University Papers on Kyllo v. United States


An angent of the U.S. department of the Interior suspected the petitioner of growing marjuana in his private house. To grow marjuana inside the house, special lamps are used that give off alot of heat. The agent used a thermal device to detect if the petitioner had these lamps. The device showed his hose to eminate more heat than all the neighboring houses. The agent got a warrant to search the petitioners house and found the marjuana.

Legal Issue

Is thermal imaging a search without a warrant?


Yes, it is a search without a warrant.

Legal reasoning

The fourth ammendment provides the right of the people to secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches. The court used a test from a previous case to make a decison. In the decision of Katz v. U.S., the court held that by using an eavesdropping device to listen to a conversation in a phone booth was unconstitutional. The petitoner by going into the phone booth to make a phone call and by closing the door to the booth had a reasonable expectancy of privacy. From this decison a test was made called the Katz test, it asked the question did the subject have an expectancy of privacy that the society would see as reasonable. The interior of a house is the most private area and has a reasonable expectancy of privacy. The government agrued that it was just a visual search and the device used was to measure heat off the wall and not through the wall. In Dow Chemical Co. v. U.S. , the govt. took aerial pictures of an industrial complex and the court up held the decison to use those pictures becuase it did not share fourth ammendment priveldges like a private home. The justices in reviewing the facts of the case came to the conclusion that no significant compromise of privacy had occured by using that device but they had to take into consideration the original purpose of the Fourth ammendment. The court reasoned that by using a device that was not in public use to explore details of a house which would have been unknown without physically intruding was infact a search. The judgement of the court of appeals is reversed.

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