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.