Question

Government agents suspected that marijuana was being grown in the home of Danny Kyllo, who lived in a triplex building in Florence, Oregon. Indoor marijuana growth typically requires high intensity lamps. To determine whether an amount of heat was emanating from Kyllo’s home consistent with the use of such lamps, federal agents used a thermal imager to scan the triplex. Thermal imagers detect infrared radiation and produce images of the radiation. The scan of Kyllo’s home, which was performed from an automobile on the street, showed that the roof over the garage and a side wall of Kyllo’s home were “hot.” The agents used this scanning evidence to obtain a search warrant authorizing a search of Kyllo’s home. During the search, the agents found an indoor growing operation involving more than 100 marijuana plants.
Kyllo was indicted for manufacturing marijuana, a violation of federal criminal law. Kyllo moved to suppress the imaging evidence and the evidence it led to, arguing that it was an unreasonable search that violated the Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Is the use of a thermal imaging device aimed at a private home from a public street to detect relative amounts of heat within the home a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment? Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 121 S. Ct. 2038, 2001 U. S. Lexis 4487 (Supreme Court of the United States, 2001)


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  • CreatedAugust 12, 2015
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