On January 16, 1992, two agents from the United States Department of the Interior, Elliott and Dan Haas used a thermal imaging device to scan the home of Danny Lee Kyllo of Florence, OR. The device was known specifically as an Agema Thermovision 210 imager, which detected various levels of radiating heat. The two agents had suspected Kyllo of growing marijuana in his portion of the triplex he lived in due to information they had received from neighbors. At 3:20 am the men took several minutes and used the thermal imaging device to determine that there were unusually high temperatures radiating from Kyllo’s garage, thought to be the location of the growing lamps used for the marijuana growth. This information, along with the tips from neighbors, and electric power readings allowed federal agents to obtain a search warrant and arrest Danny Kyllo. 2.
After being arrested Kyllo was charged with manufacturing marijuana. Kyllo moved to suppress the evidence obtained against him on the grounds that the use of the imaging device constituted an illegal search and that authorities had misled the judge who issued the warrant. His motion to suppress was denied and he was ultimately found guilty. Kyllo then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court on the grounds that the actions taken by the federal agents had actually constituted a pre-warrant search and violated his Fourth Amendment right. At the Ninth Circuit Court the decision of the lower courts was upheld. Kyllo then went on to petition a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, which ultimately decided to hear his case. In a 5-4 decision, the Justices found that the use of the thermal imaging device on Danny Kyllo’s home constituted a search, and had violated his Fourth Amendment right. The Supreme Court then dropped the original charge against Kyllo. 3.
Privacy and the Fourth Amendment are the issues that are addressed on appeal. Kyllo’s privacy was violated because the police wouldn’t have been able to see the heat...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document