Radley Balko’s post on an attention-hungry ex-narc reverse stinging drug agents brought me to the Supreme Court decision Kyllo v. United States. It declared use of a thermal imaging device to constitute a “search”, requiring a warrant. I think that’s wrong, for the reasons Stevens gives in the wikipedia summary. Why should cops not be allowed to do something any member of the general public could do without a warrant? If the house is emitting something (heat, smoke, noise, flashing lights) are they obligated to ignore it? If the Fourth Amendment were viewed simply as a property right (which I would prefer), this would be a no-brainer. Cops busting into your house without a warrant would constitute breaking & entering, just as it would for any criminal, and there would be repercussions if they didn’t find any evidence to use against you in court (the only time when the Fourth Amendment through the exclusionary rule goes into effect in our current system).
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