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Question of privacy

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First a little background before the question.

About a month ago I received a long awaited arrest warrant for one of our local jokers. I decided that before we busted into his house to arrest him I would try out one of our new gadgets, a thermo-imaging camera. For those of you who dont know what a TIC is, it allows the user to look through the gadget like binoculars and it shows sources of heat. Thus allowing you to look into a house and see how many and where the occupants are located. This was the reason I was using it, first to see if there were other people in the house with him and where they were all located to make the effecting of the arrest warrant a safer process. Well he eventually sued the Police Department saying that we violated his constitutional right to privacy, because I did not have a search warrant. The issue is now going to court and we will see soon if the judges believe that a search warrant is required for the use of a TIC. I was just wondering if you would feel as if your right to privacy was infringed upon in this situation?
 

superimposedhope

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Hmmm........
While it is probably safer to be able to remove "jokers" and to do it you must be smarter and faster than them. I have to admit I think it is a bit of a violation though i don't know exactly where the law stands on such an issue. If you think of it like watching people in a restroom it would deffinately be a violation of privacy. So I have to say that I think it was a violation of privacy even though the city is most likely better of with certain persons out of the way.

I'll be waiting to see what Copper has for an opinion.

Joe
 
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Normally I would, but I don't think so if you are serving an arrest warrant. At that point, like you say, it's a safety issue for the police, unless perhaps there was no likelihood of violence by the offender. So it would depend on the situation, but it sounds to me like it's good in this case. And this is coming from a solid anti-authority lefty.
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Capslock
 
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Negative I did not have a search warrant only a warrant for his arrest. I TIC'd his residence a few minutes before serving the arrest warrant to verify his location in the house and to see if there were other people inside, in order to enter the house at the safest possible entry point.  I am looking forward to what the judge puts forward as precedence in this case.  I belive that he will say that it was fine in the manner that it was used in this case, but he will probably also enforce that it would be a violation of privacy to randomly TIC houses w/o probable cause.

Capslock - You did catch me a little bit off guard I would have expected to get negative feedback from a 'solid lefty' like yourself.
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RamPuppy

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well, I can say as a staunch conservative, that in this instance, I have no problem with the use of a TIC.

I would have a problem if say, such technology was mounted on a helicopter and used to passively canvass a neighborhood for things such as marijuana growers and so on. Why?

That's casting a pretty wide net and I definately don't want some of the things that occur in my home to be witnessed... bathroom usage, uh.. marital obligations... so on so forth...

I think also it is hillarious that some departments will look up power consumption and use TIC type technology to confirm pot growers... in about two months I will have over 1500 watts of metal halides, T-5's, pumps, and chillers running on my reef tank, that's going to be major power consumption and quite the heat signature as well. Many people that run reef tanks have had cops come looking through windows and so on because these technologies and practices led them to the wrong conclusion.
 

mabudon

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Nother "solid lefty" here, and a Canadian one at that....

Seems to me that if you had enough on the guy to get an arrest warrant, and were in the process of serving it, you should be in the clear- I mean, if you hadn't used the gadget, would you still have served the warrant??? I imagine that would be the case.... it is pretty silly to even think that the "joker" (is that the new, PC "Bad guy"
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???) would have a leg to stand on, really, a good friend of mine is an RCMP officer (Mountie, like Dudley Doright) and I know how hard it is for him to get warrants- you pretty much have to prove a whole lot before one is issued up here, at least, and if that had already taken place.......

I am really surprised that this is even an issue, I hope the suit gets tossed out of court for being ludicrous, especially since you only used the thermal imaging in a direct lead-up to a warranted arrest, and wre not "fishing for crimes" as Rampuppy decribed... if that were the case I would fall on the other side as well
 

superimposedhope

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I gotta ask; What are the technicalities of an arrest warrant? I know you can go to his home to arrest him but if he refuses to let you in can you enter if you know he is there? While arresting him say in his house would you be allowed to "take a look around"? I think if you would lawfully be prohibited from looking around his house with just an arrest warrant then using the TIC is not right either. However with a search warrant I see "Who cares?" if you can look around anyway. Like RAm said many things in house that is nobodys' business.

Joe
 
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well im another anti-authority type but if you had an arrest warrent i see no problem with what happened. as was stated i think it falls under a saftey issue for the officers involved. to cruise the neighborhood checking houses at random would be in violation of privacy IMHO though. TIC are rather neat. our volunteer firedepartment purchased one last year to help aid in finding ppl in smoke filled buildings. very cool technology.
 
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Like superimposed said, I would think an arrest warrant would override a search warrant. How can you arrest someone if you aren't allowed to look for them first? If you were chasing the guy through a neighborhood and he darted into his house it's not like he could go "nyah nyah, you can't come in" could he?

Reminds me of when we'd play tag as kids and declare things "base".
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Joe an arrest warrant does allow me to enter his residence to serve the warrant. I cannot however enter lets say his friends house even if I know he is in there, I would then have to get a separate search warrant for the friends house. But once I enter his house to arrest him with the arrest warrant I can 'look around' as you say. I cannot move anything to get a better look, but anything that is in 'plain view' that can immidiatly be determined by myself to be contra-band or something used in a crime, or something stolen, I then can legallly sieze the object and charge the owner of the residence. Even if I know that a Glock 23 with a very unique scratch and a serial number of 12345 was stolen, and I see a Glock 23 with the exact same scratch I cannot turn the pistol over to look at the serial number while serving the arrest warrant. Hope that helps, so never invite an officer into your residence if you have something sitting out that will get you into trouble.
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endparenthesis -
There are all sorts of laws that Law Enforcement Officers must follow that are sort of gameish. Like if I am in pursuit of a perp (ie Hot pursuit) and I never lose sight of the quys as he is trying to outrun me I can legally follow him wherever he goes, into his house, a friends house, doesnt matter I can follow. But if he happens to slip away somewhere that I lose sight of him for a period of time, and then while looking for him I see him enter a residence I have many more rules to follow. If it is not his residence I cant go whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. If it is his house I can only enter if the reason I was pursuing was a felony crime.
 
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Another left-leaning type chiming in:

As long as the use of the TIC was used to the end of serving the arrest warrant, and done in a manner that would enhance the protection of safety and property for all involved, and it is not used in any manner inconsistent with the arrest warrant (i.e. -- if you uncover evidence using the TIC that would not normally be allowable, it still cannot be used unless other, legal, means are employed to legitimise said evidence), then i have no problem with it.

Bottom line: you were not fishing for evidence of crime, which would be a clear violation of privacy, but you were attempting to use new technology to serve an arrest warrant more safely.
 

superimposedhope

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With the arrest warrant you can enter his home and anyone or anything that is there is free game so long as you don't have to disturb the items? If this is the case then I see no reason for their to have been a violation of privacy. While you had not entered his property, if you had a warrant which allowed you to enter then I don't think it makes a difference to observe from the inside or outside other than your safety.

Might I say since having met you and Copper, my veiw of cops has changed..........for the better that is.

Joe
 

superimposedhope

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Speaking of privacy.
Wolf9,
About 4 years ago I was served a no knock. They were looking for my brother who was at the time an unconvicted multiple felon (he did it). For some reason they had reason to beleive they said that I was hiding him. They came in, cuffed me, my wife(girlfriend at time), took my daughter to another room to question her. Tore the apt. apart. Drawers on the floor emptied, lingerie and underwear gone through and left on the floor. Every drawer, closet, etc... on the floor strewn about even thrown. Not only had my brother not been there but I had not spoken to him in over a year. They found absolutely nothin and left with nothin. Actually I was 20 at the time and had beer in my fridge, they emptied it in the toilet.
They still have not found him, though he was in custody once and let go before they realized it.

I know that was not right but nobody would help me, lawyers, no-one! After asking for a badge number and name I was given a kidney shot with the baton and told "Drop it!, Let it go!" Never heard anything again from them about my brother.

WHAT THE HELL WENT WRONG HERE?
Sorry I don't mean to steal your thread just curious about another privacy issue. It's long dead now but I still wonder. This was the height of my contempt for officers.

Thanks
Joe
 
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how would this be a violation of his privacy, all you did was use the TIC to view a spectrum of light that is not visable with the naked eye, but is still sent out and present wether you have a TIC or not. Unless you used what you saw as evidence, in which case i believe it would be illegal search, you did nothing wrong. Its the same idea that anyone, including police as i understand it, can go and get a scanner from radio shack and listen to people conversations that they have on cordless phones. THe big issue is what ever they hear can not be used as evidence in court or to get a search warrent. Basicly the issue is does the spectrum of light that is viewed matter? i would say no unless it is used as evidence.
 
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I say its okay since well we would not like you or other police-people shot and killed. You never know what will happen so its better to be safe then sorry. Its not like you could see much in his house anyway.
 

Est

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Negative I did not have a search warrant only a warrant for his arrest.

Just my oppinion, but that should be enough. If you were checking his house out constantly or on a routine basis, or just for giggles, then I'd say that is was invasion of privacy. It seems like having a search warrent and just getting an idea of any potential threats before you go in to make an arrest- Well that just seems smart! I support your actions; it's part of your job to keep yourself and your fellow officers safe.
 

Ozzy

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Even if I know that a Glock 23 with a very unique scratch and a serial number of 12345 was stolen, and I see a Glock 23 with the exact same scratch I cannot turn the pistol over to look at the serial number while serving the arrest warrant.

But if you accidentally bump the table and the gun falls to the floor with the numbers facing up. That would be legal. Or for your and every bodies safety, you pick the gun up to make sure it's unloaded. You set it back down with the numbers facing up. Most of my family are cops, and I know that all of them would pick the gun up and run the numbers. Besides It's their word against yours and in court the cop always wins that battle.

As far as the topic, I think that it should be illegal for it to be used without a warrant. It is nobodies business what I do in my house, as long as what I'm doing poses no threat to anyone else. Therefor what right does anybody have using a device to look through my walls.
If you have an arrest warrant, you have permission from the court to enter a private dwelling. I do believe that should also include any surveillance before entering. I think that using the device should be allowed in any case where the officers have permission to physically enter the house. One solution would be asking the judge permission to use the device when you are applying for the arrest warrant.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Drawers on the floor emptied, lingerie and underwear gone through and left on the floor. Every drawer, closet, etc... on the floor strewn about even thrown.

The way I see it, the cops had to look in all the drawers. How else could the cops know if your brother was hiding in your underwear draw?
I don't mean to make fun of your situation but to me it's kind of strange that if they were looking for a person, why would they look in places that a person can't even get into. I think they were either looking for documents that would lead them to your brother or looking for something illegal so they could get you to talk.
I know a lot of cops, and they are like everybody else, some good and some bad. I don't think what happened to you was right. You can't count on lawyers helping you unless they can get a big paycheck.
 
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