LONG LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Michigan Supreme Court will hear a dispute over the legality of using a drone to take pictures of a salvage yard near Traverse City.
Aerial photos were used as evidence in a lawsuit against Todd and Heather Maxon, who were accused of violating a zoning ordinance and creating a nuisance with cars and other salvaged material in Long Lake Township.
The Maxons argue that aerial photos violated their constitutional right against unreasonable searches. But a local judge and the state Court of Appeals have ruled against them.
“Like every American, I have a right to be secure on my property without being watched by a government drone,” Todd Maxon said.
The appeals court in 2022 said the dispute was a civil matter, not a criminal one.
“The township seeks a declaratory judgment and to abate a nuisance. There are no police officers involved,” the court said in a 2-1 opinion.
The Supreme Court last week said it would hear arguments during its next term.