Thermal Imaging & the 4th Amendment

On NPR this morning, Nina Totenberg reviewed a case before the SCOTUS. A man in Arizona was suspected of growing pot in his house…a comparison of his utility bill (much higher than comparable surrounding homes) led to a decision to employ a thermal imaging scanner outsider the home. The scanner revealed a substantial amount of radiated heat on the outside walls (more than to be expected normally) and on that basis they got a search warrant to search the house where several pot plants and seeds were found.

The home owner is challenging the scan on 4th amendment grounds. The lower court upheld the search because the scan typically does not show human forms, but just a general image of radiated heat on the outer walls. In briefs submitted before SCOTUS, the feds compare this to an observation of smoke from a chimney, which would indicate a fire in the house…just the observation of smoke does not violate the 4th amendment.

I looked for a web citation to no avail, but what think the teeming millions?


Beat ya

And, it was Oregon.

here’s the link: news story

If a mod would be so kind to close this thread…and give wring a noogie for beating me to the punch.