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Michigan Supreme Court to hear dispute over drone photos of a salvage yard

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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.

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