High Court, 5-4, Rules Against Police Dog Sniffs for Drugs Outside Home


The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that police use of a dog to sniff outside a Miami-area house being used to grow marijuana violated the homeowner’s constitutional rights, reports the Associated Press. The court voted 5-4 to uphold a court decision throwing out the evidence seized because of an alert to the police by a drug-sniffing dog named Frankly.

Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority, said a house and its surroundings are a constitutionally protected area, and the homeowner had not given permission for police to use a drug-sniffing dog to look for evidence. In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito said police did not trespass on the property by coming up to the front door with the dog. Alito also said people must expect that odors may emanate from a house, where they can be detected by dogs. The opinion can be found here http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-564_jifl.pdf

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