A little while back, I wrote in our firm’s InfoLaw newsletter about a man in Kentucky who was arrested for shooting a drone that was flying over his property. As an update, a judge recently dismissed the charges. The man, William Meredith, was charge with three separate offenses -- criminal mischief, wanton endangerment and discharging a firearm within city limits. See Eugene Volokh’s post on it, linked above, for more detail. It looks like Meredith may have had a defense to the criminal mischief charge based on his belief that he had the right to shoot the drone down. And the facts may simply not have supported the wanton endangerment charge since, it’s not clear who was actually endangered. But the basis for the holding seems to be the Judge’s conclusion that the drone was violating Meredith’s privacy and that gave Meredith the right to blast away.
I’m not advocating that anyone start aiming for drones. It may yet be a federal crime. But having said that, don’t be surprised if judges find the whole concept of drones hovering over private property a little creepy. Which may make them a little more forgiving when homeowners take matter into their own hands.