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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Karo California v. United States Supreme Court case. This information was subsequently used to obtain a search warrant, where federal agents discovered over marijuana plants growing in Kyllo’s home. City of Lago Vista Devenpeck v. That form of observation is not a search.

Detective Haas performed the thermal scan at issue in this case from the passenger seat of Agent Elliott’s vehicle across the street from the front of petitioner’s house. This Court’s decisions establish, however, that the Fourth Amendment does not preclude the government from obtaining the assistance of technology to observe an area that is exposed to the public, provided that the technology does not permit the government to detect private activities occurring in private areas.

Dow Chemicalhowever, involved enhanced aerial photography of an industrial complex, which does not share the Fourth Amendment sanctity of the home. The officers in Ciraolo and Riley used aircraft to observe curtilage areas shielded from ground level views, something that could not have been done before the invention of flight. Texas Ybarra v. The dissent offers no practical guidance for the application of this standard, and for reasons already discussed, we believe there can be none.

Alford Virginia v. Warrant Requirement Steele v. Chesternut Brower v. It is true that the imager was used to gather information that, in combination with other facts, supported an inference about what might be going on inside the house. Henkel Terry v.


Brignoni-Ponce Delaware v. The plurality expressly relied on the Court’s statement in Lee that the use of searchlights, marines glasses, or field glasses to observe areas exposed to the public does not constitute a search.

Redding City of Ontario v.

California Irvine v. MarylandU. United States Trupiano v. Belton Knowles v. Illinois Minnesota v.

Earls Safford Unified School District v. The district court found that the imager “shows a crude visual image of the heat being radiated from the outside of the house,” and that “[t]he device cannot and did not show any people or activity within the walls of the structure.

Miller Smith v. Mena Bailey v. Based on the information supplied by Elliott, a federal magistrate judge issued a warrant authorizing a search of both petitioner’s and Tova Shook’s residences.

It has instead insisted that “Fourth Amendment cases must be decided on the facts of each case.

California Heien v. United States On Lee v. Second, the agent observed areas that were exposed to the public-the roof and walls of petitioner’s house.

In Katz, this Court held that the use of an electronic listening device that was attached to the outside of a public telephone booth constituted a Fourth Amendment search. Verdugo-Urquidez Bond v. And a member of the public who observes smoke from a chimney can infer that a fireplace in the house is making the area near it warmer than other areas of the house.

But the Court’s analysis nevertheless depended on the principle that a search does not occur simply because technology enabled observations that could not otherwise be made without a physical invasion. Unlike the cases discussed above, this case does not involve observation with the unaided eye of an area exposed to the public. This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports.

Nor, absent a warrant, could the government use a sophisticated electronic listening device to detect the content of private conversations within a house.


In Julyauthorities executed a federal search warrant at Shook’s residence in Dalles, Oregon, and found an indoor marijuana “grow” operation. But the drawing of inferences about protected activities is not itself a “search. McNeely Maryland v.

Kyllo v. United States – Merits

The court of appeals, by a vote, reversed and v.unitex, finding that the use of the thermal imager constituted a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

When one house uses central air conditioning, but the one next door does not, a member of the public can infer that the house without central air conditioning is warmer.

In the experience of Agent Elliott, those figures were consistent with a staggered indoor marijuana grow operation: That technological observation does not infringe an v.unite reasonable expectation of privacy. The Court reasoned that the officers made their observations within public navigable airspace where they had a right to be and that any member of the public flying in b.united airspace who glanced down could have seen everything that the officers observed.

Indoor marijuana growth typically requires high-intensity lamps.

Kyllo v. United States – Wikipedia

Arvizu Hiibel v. Gant Riley v. When the Agema imager detects areas that are relatively warm, it displays them as white; when it detects areas that are relatively cool, it displays them as black; and when it detects areas between the extremes, it displays them as shades of gray.

Karo is therefore inapposite here. Martinez-Fuerte United States v. CiraoloU. Third, the thermal imager did not permit the government to detect any private activities occurring within petitioner’s house; it detected instead only oyllo radiating from the external surface of the house and translated that information into a visually readable form showing relatively warmer and cooler areas.