Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant | Ars Technica

Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant | Ars Technica:
"A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval. The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant."
Interesting ruling. Warrantless surveillance cameras on private property don't violate the 4th amendment?  It appears that the defendants did not offer any evidence in their motion proving that they own or lease the property. However, they posted it as if they did:  "The property in question was heavily wooded, with a locked gate and "no trespassing" signs to notify strangers that they were unwelcome. But the judges found that this did not establish the "reasonable expectation of privacy" required for Fourth Amendment protection. In their view, such a rule would mean that (in the words of a key 1984 Supreme Court precedent) "police officers would have to guess before every search whether landowners had erected fences sufficiently high, posted a sufficient number of warning signs, or located contraband in an area sufficiently secluded to establish a right of privacy."

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