Brief Fact Summary. The police obtained evidence of a marijuana growing operation inside the defendant, Kyllo’s (the “defendant”) home, by using a thermal imaging device from outside the home. The police used the device to gather evidence to support issuance of a search warrant for the home.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The use of a device by the government, which is not generally used by the public, to obtain evidence from inside a home is a presumptively unreasonable search without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution (“Constitution”).
Issue. Does the use of a device by the government to obtain evidence from a constitutionally protected area without physical intrusion constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution?
Held. Where police obtain information about the inside of a home without physical intrusion, using a device not normally used by the public, the police action constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.
When the Fourth Amendment was adopted, as now, to search meant to look over or through for the purpose of finding something; to explore; to examine by inspection; as, to search the house for a book; to search the wood for a thief.View Full Point of Law