Defense attorney Brian Gallik of Bozeman said people have a "fundamental right" to expect that the government has not sent someone into their homes with an electronic monitor.Damn straight. At oral arguments, justices seemed especially concerned at the common use of this practice for extremely low-level crimes like pot possession:
In one case, Joseph Patrick Hamper pleaded guilty to drug charges after the Missouri River Drug Task Force recorded him twice selling $50 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant who had recorded conversations in the suspect's home.This case calls into question the crux of constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures: If police can send a snitch into your home wearing a wire without a warrant, we basically don't have a functional Fourth Amendment anymore.
In the other, Michael Thaddeus Goetz, pleaded guilty to selling one gram of methamphetamine to a confidential informant, who wore a body wire-receiving device into Goetz's home.
"It is completely discretionary to the police," Justice James Nelson pointed out during an exchange with assistant attorney general Mark Mattioli. "Where am I wrong?" [...]
Justice Brian Morris wondered about the need to have wired informants on small crimes.
"Do we really need this type of intrusion in a $50 pot buy?" he asked.