The Background of Kyllo v. the United States:
Kyllo v. United States is a landmark Supreme Court Case, which ultimately stated that the use of a thermal imaging device—from a public vantage point—to monitor the emission of heat radiation from an individual’s home is legally regarded as a “search.” Through this classification, the use of a thermal imaging device is regulated by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and thus requires the obtainment of a warrant.
The case of Kyllo v. United States revolves around a situation where the Department of the Interior used a thermal imaging device outside of the private residence of Danny Kyllo. The evidentiary hearing in the District County Court stated that the imaging device could not penetrate the home’s walls or windows to reveal any human interactions or record any conversation. The device, upon use, showed that there was an unusual amount of heat radiating from the side walls and roof of the garage. This information was ultimately used to obtain a search warrant where federal agents later discovered over 100 marijuana plants growing in Kyllo’s home.
Danny Kyllo was charged with growing marijuana in his Oregon residence. Kyllo appealed the charges in the Ninth Circuit Court by stating that the observations (obtained through the use of a thermal-imaging device) constituted a formal search under the Fourth Amendment. Although the conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeals, Kyllo petitioned a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
Kyllo v. United States Trial
In Kyllo v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the thermal imaging device used to monitor Kyllo’s home constituted a search and thus required a warrant before the device was used. Since the law enforcement agents did not have a warrant when the imaging device was used, the search was ruled unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional.
The Case Profile of Kyllo v. United States:
The following is a case profile of the legal trial eponymously titled ‘Kyllo v. United States’:
Date of the Trial: Kyllo v. United States was argued on February 20, 2001
Legal Classification: Administrative law this legal field associated with events and circumstances in which the Federal Government of the United States engages its citizens, including the administration of government programs, the creation of agencies, and the establishment of
United States Reports Case Number: 533 U.S. 27
Date of the Delivery of the Verdict: Kyllo v. United States was decided on June 11 2001
Legal Venue of Kyllo v. United States: The Supreme Court of the United States
Judicial Officer Responsible for Ruling: Chief Justice William Rhenquist
Involved Parties: The following are the parties named with regard to their involvement in the Kyllo v. United States case:
In Kyllo v. United States, Danny Kyllo was the plaintiff and the State of Oregon was the defendant.
Verdict Delivered: The United States Supreme Court in Kyllo v. United States ruled that the use of a thermal imaging device to monitor an individual’s home constitutes a Fourth Amendment “search” and may be accomplished only with the obtainment of a warrant.
Associated Legislation with regard to Kyllo v. United States: The following statutory regulations were employed with regard to the Kyllo v. United States trial:
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires a search warrant to obtain by law enforcement agencies when conducting any surveillance or investigatory techniques that are constituted as searches under the 4th Amendment.