The Fourth Amendment takes another one in the seat for the Great Lost Cause.
U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that it was reasonable for Drug Enforcement Administration agents to enter rural property without permission — and without a warrant — to install multiple “covert digital surveillance cameras” in hopes of uncovering evidence that 30 to 40 marijuana plants were being grown.
Funny thing about this: I do have some personal experience with this practice. In my PI days, I used a small wireless camera almost exactly like this one that I would place whenever I needed to watch a spot that direct surveillance wouldn’t work for. I could monitor it from about 1/2 mile away and record footage for as long as the batteries lasted. This was more for workman’s comp/disability cases, but the application was similar enough. And yes, I would position it on a subject’s property if I could, even though I never disregarded a No Trespassing sign like the Feds did on this case.
Did I feel like a creep spying on people that way? I guess I probably should have, but it was business. From the perspective of our rotting civil liberties though, increased technological surveillance is totally inevitable as long as we keep this charade on drugs going.
Unfortunately, the judge in this case properly applied the open fields exception and it will probably hold up on appeal.