Drug-Sniffing Dog Searches Ruled Unconstitional

Drug-sniffing dog 3-27-13

As reported by Drugfree.org and the Associated Press, “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police must first obtain a search warrant before bringing drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect’s property to look for evidence.”

This decision could limit the way in which investigators have used search dogs to look for drugs, explosives and other concealed objects.

The 5-4 vote by the court to uphold a Florida Supreme Court ruling threw out “evidence seized based on an alert by a chocolate Lab named Franky,” the article stated. According to that court, the dog’s ability to detect marijuana grown inside a Miami home by sniffing outside the home was “unconstitutional.”

The Lab, Franky, recently retired after seven years with the Miami-Dade Police Department, and is responsible for discovering more than 2.5 tons of marijuana and $4.9 million in drug-contaminated money.

Thousands of dogs are used nation-wide by government organizations to sniff out illegal items, track criminals and search wreckage sites, according to the AP.

In February, “the U.S. Supreme court ruled police do not have to extensively document a drug-sniffing dog’s expertise to justify relying on the canine to search a vehicle,” the article said.”The unanimous ruling overturned a Florida Supreme Court decision involving Aldo, a German shepherd. After the dog detected drugs in a pickup truck, a police officer searched the truck and found 200 pseudoephedrine pills and 8,000 matches, which are used to make methamphetamine. The Florida Supreme Court ruled police must compile detailed evidence of the dog’s reliability before probable cause to search the vehicle is established.”

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