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Florida v. Riley

United States Supreme Court
488 U.S. 445 (1989)



An officer with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office visited the rural mobile home of Riley (defendant) to investigate an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown on the property. A partially enclosed greenhouse was located 10 to 20 feet away from the home inside a wire fence, but the officer could not see the contents from the road. The officer then flew over the property in a helicopter at a height of 400 feet, which allowed him to see marijuana plants through the open sides and missing panels of the greenhouse roof. As a result, a warrant was issued and marijuana was found growing in the greenhouse. Riley was arrested for possession of marijuana under Florida law. The lower court certified the question of whether the aerial observation in this case constituted a search requiring a warrant under the Fourth Amendment to the Florida Supreme Court. The court held that it did. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a plurality opinion on the issue.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

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