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Kyllo V. U.S.
Transcript of Kyllo V. U.S.
Both technology and increasing technological advancement have become central features of modern life. Some of this technology has clear and obvious application to law enforcement, yet it can threaten personal privacy. In this case, the Supreme Court faces a conflict between the technology of thermal imaging and the privacy of the home."The Supreme Court today, in Kyllo vs. U.S., ruled that authorities scanning a home with an infrared camera without a warrant constituted an unreasonable search barred by the Fourth Amendment" (Ruppe). The use of new technology to scan your home is currently unconstitutional, but given the closeness of this ruling this could change in a future Court.
1. "KYLLO v. UNITED STATES." Oyez Inc. 6 May, 2014. Web. 7 May, 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_8508.>
2. "KYLLO V. UNITED STATES (99-8508) 533 U.S. 27 (2001)
190 F.3d 1041, reversed and remanded." Cornell University Law School. 7 May, 2014. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-8508.ZS.html.>
3. Ruppe, David. "Supreme Court Rules on Police Using Infrared." ABC News. 11, June. 8 May, 2014. <http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93127.>
Kyllo V. U.S.
By Liam Portway and Miranda Amesse
On Jan. 16, 1992, a member of the Oregon National Guard pointed an Agema 210 thermal imager at Danny Lee Kyllo’s home. The thermal scan showed high heat levels coming from the garage roof and also from a side wall in Kyllo's home. It also showed that Kyllo’s house was giving off more heat than the other houses in his triplex. A search warrant was issued on Jan. 27, 1992, and marijuana was found in Kyllo's attic. They seized the marijuana and the growing equipment. Kyllo moved to suppress the seized evidence. The trial court denied this motion and ruled that thermal imaging was not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. Is the use of a thermal imaging device to detect heat that is either within a home or radiating from it a “search” under the Fourth Amendment? Because the Fourth Amendment was not violated, the results of the thermal imaging could be used to develop probable cause for the search warrant.
After a substantial consideration of the capabilities of thermal imaging, and how this technology is advancing, the district court decided that thermal imaging was not a Fourth Amendment search. The Ninth Circuit first vacated the conviction and remanded the case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing. They then reversed, finding that there was indeed a search. The court again remanded the case, now for a determination of whether there was enough evidence, without the evidence from the thermal imaging, to support probable cause for the search warrant. Upon rehearing, the Ninth Circuit sat in agreement with the trial court that thermal imaging is not a Fourth Amendment search. The United States Supreme Court then granted certiorari.