Electronic Privacy Information Center files amicus brief asking NM Supreme Court to limit aerial surveillance

Earlier this year I wrote about the Court of Appeals’ decision in State v. Davis, which held that under the New Mexico Constitution, aerial surveillance by police constitutes a search requiring a warrant, or an exception to the warrant requirement.

The case arises from the 2006 arrest of Norman Davis, a man in his 70s who was growing marijuana in his greenhouse. A police helicopter flying overhead spotted the plants, and heavily armed law enforcement officers carrying A-15 semi-automatic weapons confronted Mr. Davis and asked for permission to search the premises, while the helicopter hovered overhead. Mr. Davis “consented” to the search, and police seized the plants.

The New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear the case. Earlier this week, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a preeminent defender of privacy rights, filed this interesting amicus curiae brief in support of Mr. Davis, arguing that the proliferation of aerial surveillance technology (especially in the form of drones) poses a threat to privacy and property interests.

If anyone has access to the briefs filed by the Attorney General or Mr. Davis, I will gladly post them too.

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