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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Criminal Charges Against Man Who Shot Down Drone Dismissed

So reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, taking note of this story from Wave 3 News about a Kentucky man who shot down a drone that he claims was hovering over his property.  From the Wave 3 News report:

The man who calls himself the "Drone Slayer" called a judge's decision a victory. 
Bullitt County Judge Rebecca Ward on Monday dismissed the case against William H. Merideth, who admitted to shooting down a drone he said was hovering over his home last July. 
"I think it’s credible testimony that his drone was hovering from anywhere, for two or three times over these people’s property, that it was an invasion of their privacy and that they had the right to shoot this drone," Ward told the courtroom. "And I’m going to dismiss his charge."
John David Boggs, the owner of the drone "appeared stunned."

Boggs had posted this video of the drone's last flight, making clever use of the soundtrack and less-than-clever use of emojis:




Based on the video, the drone seemed to be so high that Meredith's claim that the drone was hovering over his property is a bit strained. While the drone did indeed appear to be flying and hovering over multiple people's properties, it seems high enough that Meredith's claim that his property was being violated is weak.

There are several gems in this story. First, there is this intriguing point:
Merideth also was facing a charge for firing his gun in a residential neighborhood. That charge was dismissed as well.
The WSJ Law Blog reports that this gun was a "12-gauge, short-barreled shotgun loaded with birdshot." This birdshot was fired high into the air over what appears to be a fairly well-populated suburban area. And yet the charge was dismissed.

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, all of this took place in a county called "Bullitt."

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