Sunday, January 8, 2012

Supreme Court to Decide on Warrantless Drug-sniffing Dogs

Supreme Court - Wiki image
Phillip Smith

The US Supreme Court said Friday it would decide whether having a drug dog sniff at the door of a private residence violates the Fourth Amendment's proscription against warrantless searches. The court agreed to hear an appeal from the state of Florida in a case where the Florida Supreme Court ruled that such searches were indeed unconstitutional.

The case is Florida v. Jardines, which began with the arrest and conviction of Joelis Jardines for marijuana trafficking and electricity theft after a Florida police officer's drug dog sniffed at Jardines' front door and alerted to the odor of marijuana, Jardines and his attorney challenged the search, claiming the dog sniff was an unconstitutional intrusion into his home. The trial judge agreed, throwing out the evidence, but an appeals court reversed the lower court decision. In April, in a split decision, the state Supreme Court reversed the appeals court, siding with the trial judge.

What the high court decides will be watched with great interest by law enforcement, which sees drug-sniffing dogs as an invaluable tool in its fight to suppress drug use and the drug trade. Eighteen states had joined with Florida in urging the court to take up the case. They argued that the state court decision went against legal precedent and threatened a valuable and widely-used tactic.

This will be only the latest legal tussle over whether the use of dogs to find drugs, explosives and other illegal or dangerous substances violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. In previous cases, the Supreme Court has upheld the use of drug-sniffing dogs during traffic stops, at airport luggage inspections, and for shipped packages in transit.

This case is different because it involves a private residence. The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that a residence is entitled to greater privacy than cars on a highway, luggage at an airport, or a package in transit. The court used that reasoning in a 2001 case involving the use of thermal imaging to detect heat from a marijuana grow operation in a home, ruling that the scan constituted a search requiring either a search warrant or probable cause.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in April and render a decision by the end of June.

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c.w.scamman said...

The times, they are a changing... It use to be understood that an individual was secure from surveillance within the 'curtilage' of one's home. This is easily defined for visual surveillance. With today's tech-no-logical society however, law enforcement (and private agencies) have tools and techniques far beyond what was imagined when original laws were enacted. Walls, doors, curtains no longer matter for privacy. The forth Amendment is standing at the edge of a great precipice....

Anonymous said...

I can't even believe this is up for debate. If we don't get Ron Paul in office we will not have constitutional rights anymore. Too bad their isn't vacant land to form a new country.

Anonymous said...


The last time I looked in order to get to the front door of a private residence you must first enter the property where the door is located. And without a valid search warrant issued by a judge for probable cause you can't legal enter the property.
The 4th amendment is crystal clear on this people.

The very fact that the Sumpreme court did not rule this illegal out of hand shows you just how far outside the rule of law the government as a whole is now operating. In case you all have forgotten any law, rule, regulation which violates the Constitution is automatically null and viod. And futher no citizen is required to obey it.

Even a 10 years can see that this is violation of the Bill of Rights. Until such time as we the people finally stand up and say enough is enough the government will continue to operate outside the law and will continue to trample on our civil liberties.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court never saw an unconstitutional law it didn't love.

Anonymous said...

this is not America Bush and Obama both answer to the UN and builder burg group. The US constitution has been replaced by the NAU constitution and you can find that at the head quarters of the corrupt UN. Now with the patriot act 2.0 and NDAA passage every complaint against the fascist governemnt is an act of terrorism. Any belligerent act is an offense against the fascist regime and will be punished by removal from society and gulag into a prison of classified local. The weak american populous continues to beg for this abuse by supporting Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Perry. There is only one candidate that will change this country back to the USA Ron Paul voted against the Patriot act against the NDAA against DHS and TSA. Kennedy was killed for attempting to warn the american people of this exact situation. He had set in motion the return to gold standard and that would have removed the power of the fed from completely controlling every aspect of governemnt and corporations he was murder for it. The first act after Kennedy's death was shredding of the bill that was to return us back to the gold standard. America is a police state and by UN builderburg mandate is to adopt two purposes. One become the one world governemnt military hammer for the ruling class over the globe and to be the prison country for the world. Abandon this prison as soon as possible. soon they will no longer allow you to leave the North America Union at all.

Parakletos said...

And if the drug dog is male, and smells my female, we are supposed to accept that as enough of a 'probable cause' to shoot her, and haul me into jail in cuffs? When they find no drugs, how will I get my dog back?

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