High Court Likely to Hear Case On Whether Dog Drug Sniff is Search


Legal analysts expect the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a Florida case raising the issue of whether a police K-9’s sniff outside a house gives officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs, or is the sniff an unconstitutional search? The Associated Press says the Florida Suspreme Court ruled that a dog’s ability to detect marijuana growing inside a Miami-area house from outside a closed front door crossed the constitutional line. State Attorney General Pam Bondi wants the high court to reverse that ruling.

“The Florida Supreme Court adopted a very broad reading of the Fourth Amendment that is different from that applied by other courts. It’s an interpretation that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court will question,” said Tom Goldstein of the SCOTUSblog website. The case, Florida v. Jardines, is being monitored by law enforcement agencies, which depend on dogs for a wide range of duties. The Supreme Court has OK’d drug dog sniffs in other major cases. Two involved dogs that detected drugs during routine traffic stops. In another, a dog hit on drugs in airport luggage. A fourth involved a drug-laden package in transit. The Florida case involved a private residence.

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