CO: Warrantless three month pole camera surveillance violated 4A

Warrantless three month pole camera surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment. People v. Tafoya, 2021 CO 62, 2021 Colo. LEXIS 882 (Sept. 13, 2021):

In this case, the supreme court considers whether the police’s use of a pole camera constituted a warrantless search. Having received information that Mr. Tafoya was involved in illegal drug sales, the police installed a video camera near the top of a utility pole across the street from Mr. Tafoya’s home, without first obtaining a warrant. The police continuously surveilled the property, including his fenced-in backyard, for three months and stored the footage for later review. Later, based on observations obtained from the pole camera footage, the police obtained a warrant to search Mr. Tafoya’s home. During the subsequent search, the police seized illegal drugs. The supreme court holds that police use of a pole camera continuously for a three-month-long video surveillance of fenced-in curtilage, stored indefinitely for later review constituted a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, the supreme court affirmed the court of appeals and the defendant’s convictions are reversed.

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