Police can’t snoop around your front yard & peer into your windows for 15 minutes without a warrant.

This Court addressed the second sort of problem in Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1 (2013) ( https://youtu.be/7jb5-4tblj0 ). There, the Court recognized that a home’s “curtilage,” the area immediately surrounding it, is protected by the Fourth Amendment much like the home itself. Id., at 6. So, to comply with the Constitution, law enforcement agents not only need a warrant, exigent circumstances, or consent to enter a home, they usually need one of those things to reach the home’s front door in the first place.

It’s hard to see how the case before us could have been decided without reference to Jardines.

There might be reason to hope that, while Vermont missed Jardines in one deer-jacking case, its oversight will prove a stray mistake. But however all that may be, the error here remains worth highlighting to ensure it does not recur. Under Jardines, there exist no “semiprivate areas” within the curtilage where governmental agents may roam from edge to edge. Nor does Jardines afford officers a fifteen-minute grace period to run around collecting as much evidence as possible before the clock runs out or the homeowner intervenes. The Constitution’s historic protections for the sanctity of the home and its surroundings demand more respect from us all than was displayed here.

Full Statement here: Clyde S. Bovat v. Vermont, https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-1301_5iel.pdf

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
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