The Corner

Drone Surveillance Leads to Man’s Arrest, Prison Sentence

Rodney Brossart has a unique distinction, although it may not be one he wanted. The North Dakota man became the first person to be sentenced as a result of drone surveillance in the United States.

Brossart’s three-year sentence comes following a 116-hour stand-off with a SWAT team on his ranch in 2011. The team was called in after Brossart resisted arrest for not returning livestock from a neighboring farm that had wandered on to his property; Brossart and his three sons then engaged in the stand-off before authorities brought in the Predator drone.

On loan from Customs and Border Patrol, the drone assisted the SWAT team and police from monitoring the Brossart men and eventually led to their arrest when authorities determined it was safe. Brossart’s attorney argued that the use of the drone was illegal without a warrant, but a U.S. district court upheld its use because it “appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here.”

Brossart’s two-and-a-half years in supervised probation will be taken into account for his sentence, leaving him with six months in prison. His sons were charged with misdemeanors. “I recognize that I should have handled the situation differently,” a remorseful Brossart said from the courthouse following his sentencing. “I take responsibility for my actions, and I will do what I can to ensure it won’t happen again.”

Most Popular

Education

Is Journalism School Worth It?

Clarence Darrow dropped out of law school after just a year, figuring that he would learn what he needed to know about legal practice faster if he were actually doing it than sitting in classrooms. (Today, that wouldn't be possible, thanks to licensing requirements.) The same thing is true in other fields -- ... Read More
Culture

Wednesday Links

Today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli: Here's some history, a documentary, and a Lego re-enactment. How DNA Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions: Labs today can identify people with DNA from just a handful of cells, but a handful of cells can easily migrate. The 19th-century art of ... Read More
World

Microscopic Dots. Let’s Look at Them.

Stuart E. Eizenstat has written a big book on the Carter presidency. (Eizenstat was Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. He also had a substantial hand in foreign affairs.) I have reviewed the book for the forthcoming NR. Eizenstat tells the story of a meeting between President Carter and Andrei Gromyko, the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Alfie and Haleigh and Charlie and Jahi

When British hospital officials tried to pull the plug on 23-month-old toddler Alfie Evans on Monday night in arrogant defiance of his parents' wishes, many Americans took to Twitter to count their blessings that they live in a country that would not allow such tyranny. "Stories like Alfie Evans make me ... Read More