American Government Honors
15 December 2013
Over time, technology has impacted the police and other law enforcement agencies with new devices for gathering evidence. These new tools have caused constitutional questions to surface. One particular case in Oregon of an individual (DLK) aroused such question. DLK was suspected of growing marijuana inside of his home. Agents used a thermal imager to scan DLK’s residence form the outside. The results indicated heat, just like the kind that is generated by special lights used for growing marijuana indoors. Constructed by the scan, a judge issued a search warrant. A warrant – a legal paper authorizing a search – cannot be issued unless there is a cause, and a probable cause must be sworn to by the police officer or prosecutor and approved by a judge. A warrant must describe what is being searched and what will be seized. 100 marijuana plants were found finalizing the arrest of DLK; however, did the scan violate DLK’s Fourth Amendment rights? The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (Constitution). This amendment touches on the expectation of privacy in your home and person. The government is not unable to search you, your home, your belongings, or take your belongings, also known as a seizure, without a good reason. A person’s Fourth Amendment rights may at times seem to delay the world of law enforcement. If the police feel that they have
powerful evidence of a crime that is occurring it seems obvious that they would want to act on that evidence without having to take the time to get a warrant. Courts have ruled that a...
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