State Labs of Federalism and Law Enforcement 'Drone' Use

43 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015  

Chris Jenks

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: September 2, 2015

Abstract

This article reviews and assesses current state legislation regulating law enforcement use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The legislation runs the gamut of permissive to restrictive and even utilizes different terms for the same object of regulation, UAS. These laws are the confused and at times even contradictory extension of societal views about UAS. The article reviews the U.S. Supreme Court’s manned aircraft trilogy of cases, California v. Ciraolo, Florida v. Riley, and Dow Chemical v. U.S. and two significant technology based decisions, Kyllo v. U.S. and U.S. v. Jones, and applies them to current state efforts to regulate law enforcement UAS use. The current state legislation regulating law enforcement UAS use is but the first round of experiments. But it is important to take stock of what state legislation would currently allow law enforcement to do with UAS. This article examines these state labs of federalism to identify at what point, and which state UAS experiments, the Supreme Court may rule constitute a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Keywords: Drone, technology, unmanned aerial system, UAS, state, federalism, 4th Amendment, Constitution, Ciraolo, Riley, Dow Chemical, Kyllo, Jones, autonomous

Suggested Citation

Jenks, Chris, State Labs of Federalism and Law Enforcement 'Drone' Use (September 2, 2015). Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 72, 2015; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 178. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2654965

Chris Jenks (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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