Procedural History: On Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida Question/Issue: Whether surveillance of the interior of a partially covered greenhouse in a residentially backyard from the vintage point of a helicopter located 400 feet above the greenhouse constitutes a search for which a warrant is required under the Fourth Amendment and Article I. Facts: Pasco County Sheriff office in Florida received an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown on respondent property. When an investigating officer discovered that he could not observe from ground level, he circle twice over the property in a helicopter at the height of 400 feet.
With his naked eyes he was able to see through the content of the greenhouse roof, and it open sides of what he concluded were marijuana plants. A warrant was obtained based on what the officer had observed, and the ensuing search revealed marijuana growing in the greenhouse. The respondent was charged with possession of that substance under Florida law. The trial court granted his motion to suppress the evidence. Decision: No. no evidence was produced that helicopters flying at this attitude are illegal.
There is no reasonable expectation that the content of the respondent greenhouse were protected from public or official observation from the air since he left it roof open. From this the Florida Supreme Court reversed the Judgment. Judgment: The Judgment of the Supreme Court is accordingly reversed. Concurring Opinion: Justice O’Connor Justice O’Connor concur the judgment reversing the Court of Florida because she agree that police observation of the greenhouse in Riley Cartilage from helicopter passing in the air of 400 feet did not violate an expectation of privacy that society prepared to recognize as reasonable.
Dissenting Opinion: Justice Brennan, Justice Marshall and Justice Stevens They all disagree that the Fourth Amendment which safeguard the right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, tolerates such an intrusion on privacy and personal. Principle of Law: The Fourth Amendment secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, which was violated by the officers when they flew over the respondent greenhouse to get a clearer view.