UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


Throughout the history of American jurisprudence, curtilage-the physical space surrounding a home-has been deemed to share the heightened Fourth Amendment protections that have traditionally been applied to the home itself. However, a recent trend in United States Supreme Court decisions has carved out an exception to the heightened Fourth Amendment protection of curtilage. In cases involving an alleged Fourth Amendment search where technological advancements were used in the intrusion of a defendant's curtilage, the Court fails to apply the traditionally heightened Fourth Amendment protections to curtilage. This change threatens to aggravate the already present Poverty Exception to the Fourth Amendment by widening the urban/rural divide, potentially aggravating police over enforcement of poor neighborhoods, and further shifting the inquiry of Fourth Amendment privacy to be dictated by actual privacy-something those in poverty often have little of. However, the use of amicus briefs advocating the position of those in poverty as well as policy modules added to new judge orientations may serve to restore the curtilage doctrine and its formerly heightened protections.