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The State

Use of airplanes without a warrant to spot marijuana in a Yuba County greenhouse was unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Raul Ramirez ruled, in a case he predicted would eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The judge said state court rulings on aerial surveillance are in “disarray” and said he found no federal precedents. He ruled on an appeal by five people indicted on charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Narcotics officers, acting on a tip, flew over the greenhouse in a rural area in 1982. They later seized more than 500 marijuana plants, some up to 28 feet tall, from the greenhouse. Ramirez said while officers can seize evidence left in “plain view,” that did not apply to a greenhouse that had been carefully constructed to avoid prying eyes.


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