Police Use Drone, Without Warrant, in Arrest and Conviction of ND Farmer
In a first-of-its-kind case, a North Dakota farmer was convicted and sentenced to prison based on evidence gathered with the use of a surveillance drone.
The case all started with an accusation against Rodney Brossart that he had stolen some cows from his neighbor in 2011.
Here's more from FoxNews.com:
Brossart was arrested on June 23, 2011, but his family refused at gunpoint to let authorities armed with a search warrant onto their 3,600-acre property to investigate the neighbors' complaint. Brossart was later released on bail, and warrants issued for his three sons, but the family refused for months to respond to orders to appear in court, prompting Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke to have the U.S. Border Patrol deploy a Predator drone conduct live video surveillance of the farm.
The drone monitored the family's movements on the farm following the armed standoff. It was not clear how long the drone was deployed or whether it gathered evidence of the alleged cattle theft.
But the eye in the sky gathered enough evidence to prompt Janke's men to finally move in in November 2011, arresting five family members on terrorizing charges.
Judge Andrew Napolitano discussed the case with Steve Doocy, explaining that the property was 3,600 acres, so local police got the drone from the federal government in order to find Brossart and the cows and make the arrest.
His lawyers immediately asked for the pictures taken with the drone to be dismissed from evidence, since the police did not have a warrant. The judge, however, said that authorities didn't need one.
Napolitano said that other similar cases are going the other way.
"Just like with the NSA spying, one judge says it's constitutional, another says it's unconstitutional," he said, adding that eventually this issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court.
Napolitano said that since police had probable cause to suspect the cows were on Brossart's property, it would have taken just a few hours to get a search warrant to use the drone.
Watch the full segment above, as the two wondered how long it will be before the government can send a much smaller surveillance device right into a person's home.