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Criminal Surveillance on Home
As the law stands today, law enforcement for the most part, cannot use enhanced method to gain information that would otherwise have been private. This would be a violation of a one’s legitimate expectation of privacy. Law enforcement can use technology to see or hear information that is public.
There have been cases that address this issue. For example, Kyllo v. United States, law enforcement used a thermal-imaging technology to detect heat from the home. They wanted to know if the defendant was growing marijuana. As a result from the surveillance, the officers figured that the defendant was using heat lamps to grow marijuana. The Court stated that “obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical intrusion into a constitutionally protected area constitutes a search—at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use.” Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27,33 (2001). So technology such as a thermal-imaging device cannot be used to detect what the individual is doing inside his residence.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that it is acceptable to use aerial surveillance on a private home. The Court stated “the Fourth Amendment protection of the home has never been extended to require law enforcement officers to shield their eyes when passing by a home on public thoroughfares.” California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207, 213 (1986). Law enforcement is limited from using enhanced technology, but the Court has given them a little leeway in using some enhanced instruments to conduct surveillance.
If you have questions about the limitations of government criminal surveillance on home, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder at 619.405.0063 or visit Criminal Surveillance Attorney