Court OKs Drug-Sniffing Dogs In Traffic Stops


The Supreme Court ruled today that drug-sniffing dogs can be used to check out motorists even if officers have no reason to suspect they may be carrying narcotics, the Associated Press reports. The 6-2 decision sided with Illinois police who stopped a speeder and brought a drug-searching drug in because the driver seemed nervous. Judge John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority that, “The dog sniff was performed on the exterior of respondent’s car while he was lawfully seized for a traffic violation. Any intrusion on respondent’s privacy expectations does not rise to the level of a constitutionally cognizable infringement.”

In a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Injecting [an] animal into a routine traffic stop changes the character of the encounter between the police and the motorist. The stop becomes broader, more adversarial and (in at least some cases) longer.”


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