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State v. Davis
New Mexico Supreme Court
360 P.3d 1161 (2015)
New Mexico law-enforcement officials, aided by Army National Guard helicopters, conducted an operation to detect potential marijuana plantations. One of the properties targeted in the operation was a home owned by Norman Davis (defendant). A helicopter observer inspected Davis’s fenced-in backyard by flying approximately 50 feet from the ground. The helicopter kicked up dust, scattered debris, damaged property and vegetation in Davis’s neighborhood, and panicked Davis’s neighbors. After spotting marijuana plants in Davis’s backyard, the helicopter observer directed law-enforcement officers to Davis’s house, where they seized the marijuana plants. Davis was charged with marijuana possession, and he filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the helicopter surveillance had violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court denied Davis’s motion. Davis entered a conditional guilty plea but reserved his right to appeal the denial of the motion. The court of appeals found the surveillance permissible under the United States Constitution but impermissible under the New Mexico Constitution and reversed the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress. The New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bosson, J.)
Concurrence (Chavez, J.)
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