Ever had the feeling that someone was watching you when you’re alone at home? Your doubt could become true. A federal judge in Wisconsin have ruled that in some circumstances police are allowed to install secret cameras on private property without obtaining a warrant.
Wisconsin police were suspecting two people named Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana were growing marijuana within the confinements of their property. Therefore, to keep an eye on them, the officers secretly installed cameras in an open field (Mendoza and Magana said that it was their private field, although the claims were later outruled) where the suspects lived. Based on some recorded dubious videos, few days later the police got a search warrant, arrested Mendoza and Magana for growing marijuana inside their home and later brought them to court.
At the court, lawyers of the two defendants tried to prove that the surveillance videos used to obtain a warrant were a direct violation of the defendants’privacy and hence the Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution. If it had been proven to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the entire police operation had been deemed illegal. However, judge Griesbach ruled out the claim and said, “The Fourth Amendment would only protect the homes and land owned by Mendoza and Magana, not open fields which are not part of their residences.” Therefore, the police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution when they secretly installed cameras on private property, without a warrant, in order to spy on those two suspects.
Hence, the two crooks are stuck in jail for now. The two will be tried in front of a jury on January 22, 2013.