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Publications | July 9, 2021
2 minute read

Big Brother & Zoning: Michigan Court Says Government Can’t Use Drones Without a Warrant

Warner attorney Lexi Woods wrote an article that is featured in the Midland Daily News titled “Big Brother & Zoning: Michigan Court Says Government Can’t Use Drones Without a Warrant.”

In this article, Woods provides an overview of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and its protection from unreasonable government searches and seizures. A person’s right to privacy is at the core of the Fourth Amendment, including the idea that people shouldn’t be subjected to arbitrary government invasions.
Woods notes the rise of technology has complicated whether the government is “searching” someone’s property or merely just using the technological resources available today. In Long Lake Township v. Todd Maxon and Heather Maxon, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Long Lake Township must have a warrant to inspect property using drones. In the case, the township used drones to determine if property owners were violating zoning rules related to illegal junk yards. The property owners had previously gotten in trouble for violating zoning rules, but ended up reaching an agreement with the local government.
However, shortly after reaching an agreement, Long Lake Township felt the property owners were violating the agreement and the zoning rules by greatly increasing the amount of junk on their property. The local government sued the property owners, again arguing they were in violation of the zoning rules.
To read the full Midland Daily News article, click here.
Lexi Woods concentrates her practice in real estate transactions and data privacy. To learn more about Lexi, click here.