The Fourth Amendment Case Study
For this week’s discussion, assume that you are a member of the US Supreme Court. Consider this case:
Police suspected a man was growing marijuana inside his home. Late at night, the police (without stepping on the suspect’s property) used a heat-sensing device to determine that part of the defendant’s home was substantially warmer than the other homes in the area. In the detective’s experience, that kind of heat signature indicated the use of indoor “grow lights.” Based on this information, the detective obtained a warrant to search the house and indeed did find an indoor marijuana-growing operation.
The defendant was convicted but has appealed claiming the use of the heat sensor without his approval and without a warrant violated his rights. He believes any evidence related to the heat sensor should have been excluded from the case (and, really, the warrant should not have been issued based on the heat sensor information)
Discuss the relevant issues of this case. Identify the Constitutional issue and describe the process of deciding a Supreme Court case. If you can, demonstrate how this case relates to the issue of crime control versus due process models of criminal justice. Conclude with an explanation of how you would rule in such a case.
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