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Court Upholds Domestic Drone Use in Arrest of American Citizen
US News ^ | August 2, 2012 | Jason Koebler

Posted on 08/02/2012 2:05:24 PM PDT by Myrddin

A North Dakota court has preliminarily upheld the first-ever use of an unmanned drone to assist in the arrest of an American citizen.

A judge denied a request to dismiss charges Wednesday against Rodney Brossart, a man arrested last year after a 16-hour standoff with police at his Lakota, N.D., ranch. Brossart's lawyer argued that law enforcement's "warrantless use of [an] unmanned military-like surveillance aircraft" and "outrageous governmental conduct" warranted dismissal of the case, according to court documents obtained by U.S. News.

[Photo Gallery: The Expansion of the Drone]

District Judge Joel Medd wrote that "there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle" and that the drone "appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here," according to the documents.

Court records state that last June, six cows wandered onto Brossart's 3,000 acre farm, about 60 miles west of Grand Forks. Brossart allegedly refused to return the cows, which led to a long, armed standoff with the Grand Forks police department. At some point during the standoff, Homeland Security, through an agreement with local police, offered up the use of an unmanned predator drone, which "was used for surveillance," according to the court documents.

Grand Forks SWAT team chief Bill Macki said in an interview that the drone was used to ensure Brossart and his family members, who were also charged, didn't leave the farm and were unarmed during the arresting raid.

[FAA Releases List of Registered Drone Operators]

Brossart faces felony terrorizing and theft of property charges and a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. Although his charges weren't dismissed, Brossart won a motion to move the trial from Nelson County—which has a population of 3,100—to nearby Grand Forks County.

Brossart is believed to be the only American citizen who was arrested with the assistance of a drone on U.S. soil. John Villasenor, of the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, says the legality of domestic drone use likely stems from two Supreme Court cases that allow police to use "public, navigable airspace" for evidence gathering.

Domestic drone use has become a controversial topic over the past several months, with Congress directing the Federal Aviation Administration to devise guidelines for proper drone use.

[The Coming Drone Revolution: What You Should Know]

Wednesday, Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Edward Markey released a draft of a bill that would require private drone operators to inform the government of any data collected by drones and would require law enforcement to "minimize the collection … of information and data unrelated to the investigation of a crime."

States are "increasingly using unmanned aircraft systems in the United States, including deployments for law enforcement operations," according to the bill. There "is the potential for unmanned aircraft system technology to enable invasive and pervasive surveillance without adequate privacy protections."

In April, Brossart told U.S. News that he thought the SWAT team use of the drone was "definitely" illegal. Some estimates suggest that there may be as many as 30,000 unmanned drones operated in the United States by 2020 for uses such as wildfire containment and surveillance, law enforcement, and surveying.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2012; 4thamendment; 666; donutwatch; drone; fourthamendment; govtabuse; rapeofliberty; tyranny; waronliberty
Apparently putting a drone with surveillance equipment over your private property is not considered a violation of the 4th Amendment. Wait until they can put a small quad rotor with a camera right up to a rear facing window where line of sight from a public street would be impossible.
1 posted on 08/02/2012 2:05:33 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin

We don’t own the airspace above our houses, so...


2 posted on 08/02/2012 2:09:49 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Eat Mor Chikin!)
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To: Myrddin
small quad rotor with a camera right up to a rear facing window

The last frame the camera will show will be a cat with claws outstreched, and jaws open.

I figured out early on that the little electric RC helicopters were a bad idea in the house. They just don't make 'em strong enough.

Gonna be lots of different kinds of accidents happen to their equipment if they push it.

/johnny

3 posted on 08/02/2012 2:11:42 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SandyInSeattle

What about air rights?


4 posted on 08/02/2012 2:11:54 PM PDT by meatloaf (Support Senate S 1863 & House Bill 1380 to eliminate oil slavery.)
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To: Myrddin

Just remember this was an ongoing armed standoff.

If it had been a manned police helicopter would that have been OK? Or for any armed standoff anywhere, should a warrant be required for use of any aircraft to observe the standoff?

Is it just “directly over” your private property (do you own the airspace and space all the way above your property to the moon?) Or is it allowed if you’re flying the aircraft over public property off to the side and looking at your property?


5 posted on 08/02/2012 2:15:09 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: JRandomFreeper
Gonna be lots of different kinds of accidents happen to their equipment if they push it.

Be Prepared. Have a tennis racket handy. Get one before they outlaw them.

6 posted on 08/02/2012 2:15:33 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Help. How do I put something in my tagline.)
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To: Myrddin
Court Upholds Domestic Drone Use in Arrest of American Citizen

A first step on a very slippery slope that will result in tyranny.

7 posted on 08/02/2012 2:17:00 PM PDT by The Sons of Liberty ("Get that evil, foreign, muslim, usurping bastard out of MY White House!" FUBO GTFO!)
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To: SandyInSeattle
We don’t own the airspace above our houses, so...

Where is the boundary? The highest point on the structure approved and constructed on the property? The highest tree on the property? There must be some boundary between "public airspace" and my private property. Perhaps it will be necessary to put up some bird netting to define your space.

8 posted on 08/02/2012 2:17:26 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin

Like it or not, it’s just another technology.

I think they should have waited and handled it through mediation, but on the other hand, the guy was definitely in the wrong and was menacing, so this wasn’t an arbitrary action.

We can never stop a new technology. The only thing we can and must do is to make sure it is used for legitimate purposes, and not used to enforce the whims of the reigning Dem honcho of the moment.


9 posted on 08/02/2012 2:18:04 PM PDT by livius
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To: Myrddin

All this over six head of cattle? WTF? Why the hell wouldnt he give/take them back to the rightful owners?


10 posted on 08/02/2012 2:19:55 PM PDT by crz
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To: UCANSEE2
I got catz. You have no idea how frustrating it is to spend a couple of century notes on something, only to have it swatted out of the air and fairly well destroyed in the first 30 minutes. ;)

'Sides, I got bird shot for the 12 ga. if I really need it. (Thanks coach for the trap and skeet club in high school)

/johnny

11 posted on 08/02/2012 2:21:29 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Myrddin

http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/207721/group/homepage/


12 posted on 08/02/2012 2:24:48 PM PDT by crz
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To: Myrddin

Big Brother is watching.


13 posted on 08/02/2012 2:24:59 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Too many thinking Freepers have left the building...)
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To: Myrddin

The only thing that bothers me is that, how does the DHS presume involvement in a non-Federal criminal matter? If a local police department or even a State agency own a drone, that’s one thing. But I’m not necessarily comfortable with the Feds poking their noses into everything.


14 posted on 08/02/2012 2:27:50 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Myrddin

When I was a kid, during the “War on Drugs” the local county bought an ultra-light to cruise the tree tops looking for pot farms. Every once in a while you’d see an article in the paper about a bust that always seemed to yield millions in street value. I don’t know if it was really successful, but where I was raised, if it flew slow your weapon was at hand and you were bored, an ultra-light would be a pretty tasty target. I bet a drone would be the same.


15 posted on 08/02/2012 2:29:13 PM PDT by rem_mitchell
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To: meatloaf

Air rights? I don’t understand your question.


16 posted on 08/02/2012 2:30:24 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Eat Mor Chikin!)
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To: onedoug
how does the DHS presume involvement in a non-Federal criminal matter?

I believe their assistance was requested by the locals. They didn't butt in uninvited.

17 posted on 08/02/2012 2:31:54 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Eat Mor Chikin!)
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To: Myrddin
Where is the boundary?

Offhand, I don't know. The FAA could probably tell you.

18 posted on 08/02/2012 2:33:12 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Eat Mor Chikin!)
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To: SandyInSeattle; meatloaf
"We don’t own the airspace above our houses, so..."

And even if we did, the airspace above a public road close to your house, would be sufficient to observe everything except a small triangle in the shadow of your house.

Best to simply restrict the warrant-less use of drones for surveillance on homes as unreasonable search and seizure, than to rely on airspace rights.

19 posted on 08/02/2012 2:35:51 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

Best to simply restrict the warrant-less use of drones for surveillance on homes as unreasonable search and seizure, than to rely on airspace rights.

___________________

agree so much.


20 posted on 08/02/2012 2:39:10 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: Myrddin
In California, they have for many years had helicopters flying overhead looking for marijuana farms in backyards, or homes with excessive heat output. Highway patrols frequently fly planes overhead monitoring the speed of vehicles on the roads.

What makes this different is "military-like surveillance aircraft." Are these domestic drones used by state or local law enforcement, or are they military equipment used against the civilian population. If it is the latter, it is a violation of Posse Comitatus.

-PJ

21 posted on 08/02/2012 2:41:33 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too ( It doesn't come naturally when you're not natural born.)
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To: UCANSEE2

the cameras on these things are satillite quality and they dont have to be very close to see everything. Cameras that can read text messages from across a 50K person stadium. Dont think that you can protect yourself.


22 posted on 08/02/2012 2:42:13 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: Political Junkie Too

Are these domestic drones used by state or local law enforcement, or are they military equipment used against the civilian population.

______________________

that distinction is blurring


23 posted on 08/02/2012 2:46:03 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: crz
Must have been a local pissing match...........

And the guy dug his heels in.

24 posted on 08/02/2012 2:48:42 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

“In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.”

Not wanting to spend years in a forced labor camp, Winston had decided to not think about a tasty Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, particularly since learning that comrades had been turned over to the Illinois Civil Rights commission, charged with thoughtcrime.

“Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.”
}}}
“Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing the telescreen.”

Should we begin practicing setting our features into expressions of quiet optimism?


25 posted on 08/02/2012 2:57:32 PM PDT by tumblindice (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: Osage Orange

I guess the guy was claiming open range laws in regs to the cattle on his property and would not give the cattle back.

The dumb asshole could have claimed damages if the cattle had done some.

Free Range laws are different in each state. And they cause a lot of problems when city folks move into the country. Being from the country, I dont have any problem with cattle on my property as long as they are watched. I generally get them out away from my buildings if they come in.


26 posted on 08/02/2012 2:59:05 PM PDT by crz
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To: Myrddin

One tends to think of the big drones used on the Middle East. But I can tell you that development is already well under way on drones the size of birds and insects. Don’t think they will be flying overhead. They might be perched in a tree or on a wall.


27 posted on 08/02/2012 3:02:34 PM PDT by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: crz
Around here...we know who's cattle is who's.

And when they stray..we let our neighbors know.

28 posted on 08/02/2012 3:04:39 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: Myrddin

How would having a drone fly over be any different than a private citizen fly his light plane over and take pictures or report live what he was seeing?


29 posted on 08/02/2012 3:31:23 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: SandyInSeattle
Though I'm still a bit uneasy with the idea since...well, since I never supported the creation of DHS to begin with, but having been done I should think, perhaps naively, that their mission involves interdiction and interception of foreign terror plots. Rather I think I'd feel more at ease with FBI provision of technologies for domestic police agencies. It's this layering of responsibilities that bugs me, I guess. Too complex. I can't help but think that the efficiency of the thing would be enhanced by making it simpler. It's the dreamer in me.
30 posted on 08/02/2012 4:05:59 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: SandyInSeattle

Yes i will when i shoot it down and ill own a drone too !


31 posted on 08/02/2012 4:06:08 PM PDT by ATOMIC_PUNK (Any man may make a mistake ; none but a fool will persist in it . { Latin proverb })
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To: Myrddin

Just drape your whole property in camo netting and then maybe you’ll be ok. Until they install the FLIR on the drones so they can have night vision and see through walls.


32 posted on 08/02/2012 4:57:32 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: count-your-change

Consider this device sitting on your bedroom window sill. Consider if that bedroom window is on a second story window facing the back yard. No way to peer inside short of being right on the window sill. Is that an unreasonable violation of your 4th Amendment rights?

33 posted on 08/02/2012 5:02:57 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
“Consider if that bedroom window is on a second story window facing the back yard”

In my neighborhood two story houses are built back to back so the one could see into a second story window of another across the yards.
Shall I not look out my windows on the upper floor for fear of gazing into my neighbor's room? Or do I have the right to look at anything that is outside my window?

“No way to peer inside short of being right on the window sill.”

That's what blinds and curtains are for.

For a actual example: A painting crew is painting the outside of a three story condo while a woman is nude sunbathing on her nearby two story balcony.
Are her rights being violated if one side of that building has lots of extra paint on it?

So really there's no difference between a drone or a plane or a satellite flying over and taking pictures of whatever is visible to whatever instruments they carry.

“Is that an unreasonable violation of your 4th Amendment rights?”

Someone leans a ladder against my house to see in the second story window? Yes.
Someone sits in their second story room and looks my direction, No.

34 posted on 08/02/2012 6:20:54 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: ATOMIC_PUNK
Yes i will when i shoot it down and ill own a drone too !

You do that. Let me know how it works out for you.

35 posted on 08/02/2012 6:30:56 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Eat Mor Chikin!)
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To: count-your-change
The insect drone lands on your 2nd story bedroom window sill. It turns the camera inside. Is the drone trespassing on your property? Is the trespasser violating your privacy?
36 posted on 08/02/2012 8:06:14 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin

Sure it would be but where is this happening? The technology already exists to accomplish what such a drone might.

Simple fact is if someone wants to know badly enough what you say and do in your house or apartment they can find out and there’s little you can do about it.
And they don’t need a drone.


37 posted on 08/02/2012 9:56:18 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

I know. I’m just staying on topic to explore the consequences of the court ruling with respect to drones.


38 posted on 08/02/2012 10:36:46 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: DannyTN

“Best to simply restrict the warrant-less use of drones for surveillance on homes as unreasonable search and seizure, than to rely on airspace rights.”

Agreed.


39 posted on 08/03/2012 6:41:08 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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