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Supreme Court Rules Against Warrantless Canine Sniffs at Homes

The Supreme Court has taken a step to keep the 4th Amendment from going to the dogs. It ruled today that police may not use the fruits of a warrantless dog search at the front door to a residence as probable cause for a search warrant. The case is Jardines v. Florida and the opinion, written by Justice Scalia, is here.

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Supreme Court: Argument in Two Dog-Sniffing Cases

Update: Transcript of argument in Florida v. Jardines is here, and Florida v. Harris here. Washington Post recap here.

Will the Supreme Court keep the 4th Amendment from going to the dogs?

The Supreme Court held two hours of oral argument today on the constitutionality of using drug-sniffing dogs at private homes, and the reliability of the dogs. Background here and at Scotus Blog here. Wired reports here, and the LA Times here.

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Supreme Court Takes Drug-Sniffing Dog Case

The Supreme Court has a chance to keep the Fourth Amendment from going to the dogs. Today it agreed to hear the case of Florida v. Jardines, in which it will decide whether police can use a drug-sniffing dog at the front door to a residence when they suspect the occupants of a drug offense but don't have a warrant.

The constitutional issue at stake is whether police must have probable cause — a belief that evidence of a crime will be found — before they may use a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected “grow house,” or a site where marijuana is being grown. The case grows out of a Miami police officer’s use of a drug-detecting dog, “Franky,” in December 2006 to follow up on a “crime stoppers” tip that the house was being used to grow marijuana plants.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled that police needed to have a probable cause belief in wrongdoing before they could use the dog at the home, on the premise that the drug sniff was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment.

The Florida opinion is here, the state's Petition for Cert is here, and the opposing brief is here. [More...]

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