Of drug sniffing dogs and probable cause

posted at 2:31 pm on February 23, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

As much as I try to keep up with events at the Supreme Court, there always seem to be some that slip past me. Such was the case with this week’s ruling regarding drug sniffing dogs and random traffic stops.

The high court ruled unanimously that a Florida police officer’s use of a drug-sniffing dog to search a truck during a routine traffic stop was appropriate, even though the drugs found were not what the pooch was trained to detect.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the unanimous opinion for the court – and for Aldo, a retired drug-detection dog. “The record in this case amply supported the trial court’s determination that Aldo’s alert gave (Canine Officer William) Wheetley probable cause to search the truck,” she said.

This brings up the question as to whether or not the police can launch from either a random inspection or a suspicion of one possible crime to something entirely different before they’ve observed anything which would reasonably lead them to believe that another crime was taking place. I was alerted to this ruling by my own personal attorney … or doctor .. er, or something, Doug Mataconis, who clearly believes that the court muffed this one badly.

EDIT: (Jazz) The article was by Dr. James Joyner. My apologies for the error in attribution.

That individuals have a lower expectation of privacy in their cars than their homes is a long-established principle. Still, the notion that police have a right to search a car for drugs—and make no mistake, that’s what bringing a dog trained to sniff out drugs is: a search—without probable cause is outrageous.

I’ve got no sympathy for people who endanger the public safety driving stoned—much less those who do it in inherently dangerous commercial trucks. But, absence erratic driving or other indications that the operator was impaired, the Constitution rather clearly requires a search warrant issued by a magistrate.

I can’t decide where the rule of law comes down on this one myself, and thought I might toss it out to the crowd for your opinions. I began thinking of a situation where the police pull over somebody for running a stop sign. Let’s say they have a bag of cocaine in the back seat which they’ve none too cleverly hidden under a blanket. But the jostling of the car has dislodged the blanket and part of the bag is exposed. If the police see the bag, are they supposed to ignore it simply because it was a traffic stop? I mean, it could just be big plastic bag full of sugar, right?

If the dog is brought up to the car and smells drugs, even though there was no previous reason to believe the driver had any, it’s clearly “evidence” that there may well be a crime in progress. But is the dog “looking” for the crime when none was previously suspected a violation? If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, he can pursue that investigation further, right? Why is it different with a drug sniffing dog?

You make the call. I’m not convinced either way at this point.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

It’s amazing how often that cleverly hidden cocaine is in plain view when the cops walk up to the car.

myiq2xu on February 23, 2013 at 2:36 PM

In the example of the cop smelling alcohol, the officer was there because it was his job to be there. The only reason the dog would be there would be to determine if drugs were present or not. It’s more like bringing a mechanical device for detecting drugs to the vehicle. There is no reason for it to be there except to perform this “search”.

Buford Gooch on February 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The Florida Supreme Court did the citizens of Florida a disservice by basing their decision on the US Constitution and not finding that under the Florida Constitution the search was illegal. If the Florida Supreme Court had done that the case never gets to the US Supreme Court.

DVPTexFla on February 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Drug sniffing dogs are a search.

forest on February 23, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I’ve been a victim of this police scam. Dog alerted and there was nothing for it to alert on. Illegal search (in my view) was conducted and, of course, nothing was found.

That individuals have a lower expectation of privacy in their cars than their homes is a long-established principle.

Sure, but how much lower? I wouldn’t be surprised if someday they make the case that your home is less secure from search because you can hide more stuff there.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Dogs shouldn’t be probable cause for anything. They aren’t humans. They aren’t law enforcement officers. They aren’t duly sworn to uphold the laws because they are animals and incapable of knowing such things. They aren’t witnesses, they can’t be cross examined.

So, now, what dogs “alert” to is now absolute and infallible, and the police don’t have to conform to, or account for any standards of training whatsoever?

This is yet another Roberts court atrocity that is going to come back to haunt us.

After this one they can have “trained” dogs that detect “illegal weapons” that can “alert” Barney Fife, thus giving the green light to ill trained SWAT stormtroopers to bust in your door guns blazing.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Drug sniffing dogs are a search.

forest on February 23, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Exactly.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, he can pursue that investigation further, right? Why is it different with a drug sniffing dog?

Well to play devil’s advocate the difference is the dog can’t go into court and say in english to the court “Yes your honor, I smelled drugs.” All the dog does is bark. My problem is that the dog could simply bark because that’s what he thinks his master wants him to do, not because he actually detected drugs or not. Even with non-corrupt cops this is an issue since it’s not exactly news that animals do this, google Clever Hans. Of course if the cops are corrupt this means all they’d have to do to search anybody is bring over the dog, he barks because he always barks and then the search is all of sudden nice and legal.

Dave_d on February 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Any dog that comes on my property uninvited is subject to death.

Don’t like them, don’t want them, won’t HAVE them on my property. You want in? If I didn’t invite you, you had better present a proper and legal warrant first.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:48 PM

If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, he can pursue that investigation further, right? Why is it different with a drug sniffing dog?

Well to play devil’s advocate the difference is the dog can’t go into court and say in english to the court “Yes your honor, I smelled drugs.” All the dog does is bark. My problem is that the dog could simply bark because that’s what he thinks his master wants him to do, not because he actually detected drugs or not. Even with non-corrupt cops this is an issue since it’s not exactly news that animals do this, google Clever Hans. Of course if the cops are corrupt this means all they’d have to do to search anybody is bring over the dog, he barks because he always barks and then the search is all of sudden nice and legal.

Dave_d on February 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

The difference here, fundamentally is that in the example of the officer smelling alcohol on your breath IS THAT THE OFFICER SMELLED IT.

A police officer can be a witness in court, can testify as to what he witnessed, and can be cross examined.

A dog cannot be, and their “handler” testifying is nothing more then hearsay “evidence”, prejudiced and inadmissible.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Florida police should employ my neighbor’s stupid mutt. The crazy she-beast barks like mad at pretty much anything that moves, breathes, or smells. To them, it’s like having a search warrant with a wildcard for name and address.

Archivarix on February 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Jazz, I would say that your description of a traffic stop compared to the lawyer’s contention of an illegal search by drug dogs are apples and oranges.

In the case of your traffic stop, I have reasonable suspicion to further investigate the “white substance” in the plastic bag. My next step would be to test it. Anyway, there is no search involved here. It is in “open view.” Now if I suspected that someone had a bag of cocaine in a closed box in the vehicle, then I would have to apply for a search warrant and in that request, detail my probable cause for the search. Many times, though, we would get permission from the owner to search the vehicle.

One time I was sent on a call of a “man with a gun.” We showed up on scene and sure enough, the guy did have a revolver (stolen by the way) in open view in the vehicle. Count one. The guy also had a LOT of methamphetamine in a plastic baggie on the center console. Also in open view. He was the driver. The gun and drugs were within his reach and we charged him for both crimes, even though we were called to the scene only for a report of a “man with a gun.” Now, I wasn’t the arresting officer so I don’t know if the charges were plea bargained down, but that’s not my point. If additional crimes are revealed during an investigation, we can charge them.

As far as drug dogs walking around a person’s car being a search, what if the one doing the sniffing was me and I smelled burning marijuana. I would have at least reasonable suspicion to continue my investigation. I would say that, at the opposite end of the spectrum from your lawyer friend, there are lots of lawyers who would say that a drug dog is just a cop with a better nose. ;-)

I can’t speak for the cops on the original stop. He or she may have well screwed up. Usually, though, a cop won’t call a drug dog to a scene only when they have reasonable suspicion.

Let the arguments begin!

NavyMustang on February 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

The high court ruled unanimously that a Florida police officer’s use of a drug-sniffing dog to search a truck during a routine traffic stop was appropriate, even though the drugs found were not what the pooch was trained to detect.

Your inquiry concerning “unreasonable searches and seizures” should’ve ended there.

If the dog was not – by admission of the State – trained to detect what he detected, then probable cause should’ve flown out the window – because he couldn’t possibly have DETECTED it.

BEWARE … America … for generations, what the Constitution says or doesn’t say depends ONLY on what the politics of the majority of the Supreme Court says it says, or doesn’t.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

If you drive on certain major highways near our southern border, you WILL be stopped, questioned, and have the exterior of vehicle sniffed. 100% of the vehicles who go through the Border Control checkpoints are stopped and sniffed. if something sets off suspicion, you will be pulled aside and more thoroughly questioned or searched.

Mind, you these are not checkpoints coming into the US–they are checkpoints on US highways well north of the border. When we have our dogs with us they go completely nutso at the working dog that sniffs our truck. Fortunately, we always make it through quickly.

juliesa on February 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

So when they train dogs to smell for un-burnt gunpowder and Remington Oil, and they enact gun registration/control, they can just go through parking lots having the dogs sniff them? Then when they raid your home, they can have drones overhead, possibly armed in case you resist.

Funny how Hollywood always portrays dictatorships as right-wing, yet the left is bringing on a hard core police state as we speak.

Spartacus on February 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

BEWARE … America … for generations, what the Constitution says or doesn’t say depends ONLY on what the politics of the majority of the Supreme Court says it says, or doesn’t.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

The premise that an animal can be a witness to anything at ALL with respect to the State infringing upon your person not only violates your rights against unreasonable search and seizure, it violates your rights to due process and to be able to confront all witnesses against them, since they cannot testify in court and thus, cannot be cross examined.

The closest thing to being cross examined is to challenge their training. Which the Roberts court has just said you have no right to do.

The fact of the matter is that dogs and other animals should not be able to constitute probable cause in ANY case.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Funny how Hollywood always portrays dictatorships as right-wing, yet the left is bringing on a hard core police state as we speak.

Spartacus on February 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Been the case for ages. Lenin,Stalin, Mao, and hitler were all left wing. Hollywood can’t portray that since they are mostly communists.

AZfederalist on February 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

The Supreme Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court decision that had required the state to document the dog’s “hits” and “misses” in the field to establish probable cause.

I don’t understand what is wrong with requiring the documentation, did the Supreme Court decide it was to large of a burden for the police to maintain this documentation?

agmartin on February 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Been the case for ages. Lenin,Stalin, Mao, and hitler were all left wing. Hollywood can’t portray that since they are mostly communists.

AZfederalist on February 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

When all is said and done all dictatorships end up the same: AUTHORITARIAN. Modern leftism IS strictly authoritarian, seeking control of everything from what you can eat to where you can sleep.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Previous posters have got the impact of this nailed – from now on, all any smart police officer has to do to comply with these rules is call in the dog, say the magic command word that he’s been trained to respond to (or hand motion, or whatever) and Voila!!! Instant Legal Search!!!

Meaning any car can be searched at any time for any reason, including (perhaps especially) that the officer doesn’t particularly like the occupants of the car for some reason.

Of course no officer would ever carry any “throwdown drugs” with him to be used in a search like this, would he? Perish the thought!!!

Tom Servo on February 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

I don’t understand what is wrong with requiring the documentation, did the Supreme Court decide it was to large of a burden for the police to maintain this documentation?

agmartin on February 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

What the Roberts court did was wave it’s hands and say “you don’t NEED to see that dog’s documentation”.

What it ruled is the State is always trustworthy. Despite the fact that the Bill of Rights was constructed under the assumption that NO State is trustworthy!

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

dcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The Supreme Court, for eons, has usually confined itself to the most limiting, fact based, decisions possible.

Thus, the part of my post that you didn’t highlight should’ve been determinative. That the dog was NOT trained to DETECT what he allegedely DETECTED, should’ve been determinative.

As for that part of my post that you did re-post – it stands.

The Constitution has, long ago, been bastardized into nothing but a political manifesto, based upon the politics of the majority of the Court.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The dog is trained to give a signal when it detects drugs. The officer is trained to interpret those signals. The officer testifies in court that he observed the dog signal and what it means.

Works for me!

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Previous posters have got the impact of this nailed – from now on, all any smart police officer has to do to comply with these rules is call in the dog, say the magic command word that he’s been trained to respond to (or hand motion, or whatever) and Voila!!! Instant Legal Search!!!

Meaning any car can be searched at any time for any reason, including (perhaps especially) that the officer doesn’t particularly like the occupants of the car for some reason.

Of course no officer would ever carry any “throwdown drugs” with him to be used in a search like this, would he? Perish the thought!!!

Tom Servo on February 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

This is why you need to make sure that you have the ability to, and do record EVERY encounter with the police.

How many times, now that handheld phones with video recording capabilities have become commonplace, have we seen cases of what actually happened not “exactly” matching what the police reported happened?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The dog is trained to give a signal when it detects drugs. The officer is trained to interpret those signals. The officer testifies in court that he observed the dog signal and what it means.

Works for me!

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Without that witness the officer had no probable cause to do anything. That witness cannot testify in court nor be cross examined, thus the State is circumventing your absolute Constitutional guarantee to be able to confront all witnesses against you in a court of law.

You’re ok with that?

Especially since a cop can make a dog do anything he wants it to do.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, he can pursue that investigation further, right? Why is it different with a drug sniffing dog?

In the first place it is NOT illegal to drink and drive. Just having drunk alcohol does not mean that one is over the legal limit, nor does that necessarily mean that one is too inebriated to drive. There has to be something else that would warrant a sobriety test.

To me, this kind of reasoning means that if there was just a bank robbery near by and you have money in your wallet, then you must be a suspect.

Also, unless it’s a myth, all of our paper money has drug residue on it to begin with. If that’s the case, unless you’re 100% broke, you will ALWAYS be suspect for possessing illegal narcotics.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

The dog is trained to give a signal when it detects drugs. The officer is trained to interpret those signals. The officer testifies in court that he observed the dog signal and what it means.

Works for me!

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The high court ruled unanimously that a Florida police officer’s use of a drug-sniffing dog to search a truck during a routine traffic stop was appropriate, even though the drugs found were not what the pooch was trained to detect.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 3:10 PM

“As far as drug dogs walking around a person’s car being a search, what if the one doing the sniffing was me and I smelled burning marijuana.”

But to make an analogy to the case in point, what if the subsequent search showed that there was NO marijuana in the car, burning or otherwise? Wouldn’t that create a major dent in your credibility when this was laid out to a jury, and leave you open to the charge that you were just making it up in order to justify a search that would otherwise not be allowed?

This is exactly what happened with the dog – the item the dog was trained to find, and which he supposedly reacted to, was NOT found in the car. But they did find something else while they were looking for the thing that wasn’t there because of the “false hit”, and the Court’s decision was “oh well, them’s the breaks.”

Regarding the record of “hits” and “misses” – the Court didn’t say it was too hard to keep documentation, it was far worse than that. The court said it didn’t matter how many “misses” the dog has because everyone knows drug dogs have a whole lot of misses, and that’s just too bad, and it just confuses juries if you’re allowed to talk about it. So now you aren’t even allowed to ask about it.

Tom Servo on February 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM

The dog is trained to give a signal when it detects drugs. The officer is trained to interpret those signals. The officer testifies in court that he observed the dog signal and what it means.

Works for me!

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Sure, but it could be that the dog is trained to respond to a police officer’s signal…that could be a very subtle movement that is only understood between the officer and his dog.

And, if there were indeed illegal narcotics evidence found in the vehicle, then why on earth would the police officer’s testimony as to what the dog did to alert matter that much? I would think the evidence itself would be more than enough.

Having to justify what the dog did in court would clearly indicate a possible Fourth Amendment violation.

But, I’m just a scumbag Citizen, not a lawyer or a police officer, so what the hell do I know about the Constitution or my rights.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Without that witness the officer had no probable cause to do anything. That witness cannot testify in court nor be cross examined, thus the State is circumventing your absolute Constitutional guarantee to be able to confront all witnesses against you in a court of law.

You’re ok with that?

Especially since a cop can make a dog do anything he wants it to do.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

No, I’m not okay with you making up the law.

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I can’t decide where the rule of law comes down on this one myself, and thought I might toss it out to the crowd for your opinions. I began thinking of a situation where the police pull over somebody for running a stop sign. Let’s say they have a bag of cocaine in the back seat which they’ve none too cleverly hidden under a blanket. But the jostling of the car has dislodged the blanket and part of the bag is exposed. If the police see the bag, are they supposed to ignore it simply because it was a traffic stop? I mean, it could just be big plastic bag full of sugar, right?

See, hear, and speak no evil, eh Jazz?

Requiring the police to act as if they’re clueless and can’t observe anything simply because they didn’t start out intending to look for one particular thing is just dumb.

Oh sure, I noticed you were swerving all over the road, so I thought I’d do a sobriety check. Oh, what’s that you have there? Some lady bound and gagged in the backseat? Well, lemme ignore that as I check the breathalyzer. Nope, you’re clean! Have a nice day, sir!

Stoic Patriot on February 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Since we have a large # of potheads around this site, I’ll just say I’m perfectly fine with this decision and the use of drug dogs in general. Don’t like it, don’t use drugs and problem solved.

Let the flame war begin.

Rogue on February 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Rogue on February 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I’m 54, and I’ve never smoked a joint. This isn’t about dopers being against dope searches.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 3:18 PM

No, I’m not okay with you making up the law.

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I didn’t make up law. The Constitution says you have a right to trial by a jury of your peers and that the State must produce and allow you to cross examine all witnesses against you.

How do you cross examine a dog?

If the government actor is dependent on the dog for probable cause for a search (required by the 4th Amendment) how can that possibly also meet the obligation of the State to produce and allow you to cross examine a witness that lacks both human intelligence and the ability to answer questions?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

you these are not checkpoints coming into the US–they are checkpoints on US highways well north of the border

And you have every right not to comply to a stop and ask to be let go and be on your way. That you don’t concede to a search and that they are in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendment. Remind them that this is the US and not Nazi Germany and these checkpoints are violation of your rights. Especially if they have NO probable cause and they’re just fishing.

There are some outstanding videos on You Tune of stops where that happens and after some LEO clown gets it that the driver won’t comply or be intimidated by their Gestapo tactics…they are allowed to go on their way.

Defend your rights…if you don’t…you loose them.

Twana on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

In the example of the cop smelling alcohol, the officer was there because it was his job to be there. The only reason the dog would be there would be to determine if drugs were present or not. It’s more like bringing a mechanical device for detecting drugs to the vehicle. There is no reason for it to be there except to perform this “search”.

Buford Gooch on February 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

No at all true. Some officers patrol with their dog. What else are they to do?

I agree that if you call in a drug sniffing dog you should have cause. But if the dog is your partner then the dog has every right to be there. His nose is just as valid as the human officers nose.

Also if the normal practice is for two officers to show up then if the second officer has a dog that dog is valid. No warrant required.

All that said video should be required. An expert in court could testify if the dog was making a valid response as well. Some cops have been known to train their dogs to falsely alert. If that is found to be the case the Cop should be fired and a permanent record made such that that cop could no longer ever have a dog patrolling with him/her.

Steveangell on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

First, the officer smelling alcohol has probable cause because he pulled you over for a reason. Admittedly, he can lie about that, but he probably doesn’t have to. He has to interact with you. It would be the same if he walked up to your vehicle and saw needle stuck in your arm. It is incidental to normal interaction.

Calling up the dogs to walk around your vehicle is NOT incidental to the stop. Therefore, it is a search from the moment the dog approaches the vehicle.

For comparison, if a police officer were walking down the street on his beat and he hears screaming for help from a window, he can respond to it. But, if he’s walking on your property, right next to your house, and he “accidentally” looks in your window and sees you smoking pot, he can’t do anything but go get a warrant. Why? Because being on your property he had already gone beyond “incidental”. (Really, he shouldn’t be able to get the warrant, either, because the evidence required for it would be wrongly obtained.)

Caveat: All of this is what the jurisprudence should be, and was at one time. However, the metastasizing state is bending and breaking these standards wherever it can.

GWB on February 23, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Poor drug-sniffing dogs. Won’t anyone pay for them to go into rehab?

The Rogue Tomato on February 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

It’s because of B.S. like this that I support the legalization of drugs.

agmartin on February 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Officer Wheetley pulled over respondent Harris for a routine traffic
stop. Observing Harris’s nervousness and an open beer can, Wheetley sought consent to search Harris’s truck. When Harris refused,
Wheetley executed a sniff test with his trained narcotics dog, Aldo.
The dog alerted at the driver’s-side door handle, leading Wheetley to
conclude that he had probable cause for a search. That search turned
up nothing Aldo was trained to detect, but did reveal pseudoephedrine and other ingredients for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Harris was arrested and charged with illegal possession of those ingredients.

….

Held: Because training and testing records supported Aldo’s reliability
in detecting drugs and Harris failed to undermine that evidence,
Wheetley had probable cause to search Harris’s truck. Pp. 5–11.
(a) In testing whether an officer has probable cause to conduct a
search, all that is required is the kind of “fair probability” on which
“reasonable and prudent [people] act.” Illinois v. Gates, 462 U. S.
213, 235. To evaluate whether the State has met this practical and
common-sensical standard, this Court has consistently looked to the
totality of the circumstances and rejected rigid rules, bright-line
tests, and mechanistic inquiries. Ibid.

Aldo rulz!!

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM

The big thing here that bothers me isnthat it was a random stop.
There should never be a search for random stops ever. Police should have probable cause based on something other than picking out random cars or going door to door to random houses.

Fenris on February 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Poor drug-sniffing dogs. Won’t anyone pay for them to go into rehab?

The Rogue Tomato on February 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Better that they sniff drugs than end up on Obama’s dinner table.

Which brings up another point: How in the heck can an animal that the President has EATEN be able to circumvent a human’s 4th Amendment rights?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM

How do you cross examine a dog?

If the government actor is dependent on the dog for probable cause for a search (required by the 4th Amendment) how can that possibly also meet the obligation of the State to produce and allow you to cross examine a witness that lacks both human intelligence and the ability to answer questions?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

With an expert. Same as when equipment is used or a lab.

But then to they will never bring a case where they are just going on the testimony of a dog. The dog will have indicated something was found. A search by a human will then find it. The human can be cross examined.

Steveangell on February 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I agree that if you call in a drug sniffing dog you should have cause. But if the dog is your partner then the dog has every right to be there. His nose is just as valid as the human officers nose.

Also if the normal practice is for two officers to show up then if the second officer has a dog that dog is valid. No warrant required.

Steveangell on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

No. Because the officer is not required by any normal procedure to get the dog out of the vehicle. The dog is not a police officer – no matter how much they use the phrase “my partner” – he is a tool, and can be left behind in the normal routine of an officer’s work. If there is a procedure that says otherwise, I would challenge it in court.

GWB on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Here’s a page full of You Tube videos about checkpoints.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKLwp0lAjkg

Twana on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

How do you cross examine a dog?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

How do you cross examine a breathalyzer?

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I’m waiting for the day when refusal to have your vehicle searched is considered probable cause, under the assumption as many liberals have said on our threads that if you have nothing to fear, you shouldn’t object to being searched.

Liam on February 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Another excellent video of a citizen exercising his rights.

http://youtu.be/B2X7TIl5_7g

Twana on February 23, 2013 at 3:29 PM

No. Because the officer is not required by any normal procedure to get the dog out of the vehicle. The dog is not a police officer – no matter how much they use the phrase “my partner” – he is a tool, and can be left behind in the normal routine of an officer’s work. If there is a procedure that says otherwise, I would challenge it in court.

GWB on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Did you NOT read the article.

One case was exactly what I said. The SCTOUS agreed with me. Thus you would waste your money on a lawyer fighting it.

I have one time had a stop where an officer had his dog. He did show up with his dog. I asked him about it when he made clear the stop was only a warning and he said they did this for training. Real world is the only way to really train the dog. He also said he did not always use the dog.

Steveangell on February 23, 2013 at 3:33 PM

I’m waiting for the day when refusal to have your vehicle searched is considered probable cause, under the assumption as many liberals have said on our threads that if you have nothing to fear, you shouldn’t object to being searched.

Liam on February 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

And you hear that ALL OF THE TIME on shows like Cops – with the cops saying it.

My response:

It’s PRECISELY because I’ve done nothing wrong that I object to your search.

As to your overall point – I couldn’t agree more.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 23, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Since we have a large # of potheads around this site, I’ll just say I’m perfectly fine with this decision and the use of drug dogs in general. Don’t like it, don’t use drugs and problem solved.

Let the flame war begin.

Rogue on February 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Like so many things, it’s all good until it happens to you.

So, those of us concerned about Fourth Amendment rights are “potheads”? Incredible.

See, hear, and speak no evil, eh Jazz?

Requiring the police to act as if they’re clueless and can’t observe anything simply because they didn’t start out intending to look for one particular thing is just dumb.

Oh sure, I noticed you were swerving all over the road, so I thought I’d do a sobriety check. Oh, what’s that you have there? Some lady bound and gagged in the backseat? Well, lemme ignore that as I check the breathalyzer. Nope, you’re clean! Have a nice day, sir!

Stoic Patriot on February 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

As I suspected, we shouldn’t blame only the Obama sheeple for what’s happening to our country…they get plenty of passive aggressive help from our side as well.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

How do you cross examine a dog?

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

How do you cross examine a breathalyzer?

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:26 P

M

A better question: If guns kill people, how many were convicted of murder last year?

BobMbx on February 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

The dog is trained to give a signal

…so what happens when the dog is in heat?

KOOLAID2 on February 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Lots of interesting stuff to consider here. Thanks.

Jazz Shaw on February 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Reason had both a blog post and a longer magazine article about this issue recently. Both are worth a read:

http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/19/scotus-approves-search-warrants-issued-b

http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/31/this-dog-can-send-you-to-jail

s_dog on February 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Here’s another situation that is possible: A person just bought a used car either privately or from a corner-lot dealer, one the previous owner used to transport drugs or simply used them and spilled some. The previous owner or cheapo dealer didn’t wash the thing, and the new owner hasn’t had chance to. He gets stopped, the dog is brought in, and reacts. Cops at the scene can’t find the drugs, so decide to impound the car and tear it apart for a more thorough search.

What does the innocent new owner do then?

Liam on February 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I can’t decide where the rule of law comes down on this one myself,

Does it really matter? We don’t live in a Constitutional Republic anymore. We live in a totalitarian Marxist Utopian dream nightmare.

The Rise of the Praetorian Class

How Does It Play Out?

History does not keep a flattering record of societies that allowed the Praetorian Class to rise. The Roman Empire’s decline from splendor to squalor extended for two centuries whereas the Nazi Third Reich collapsed in less than two decades. The continuous drain on productive resources, continuous warfare against new foes, abrogation of human rights and liberties and a pervasive culture of fear inevitably send the society into a tail spin. Some societies are able to observe the retreat of the Praetorian Class, but it is usually a function of economic necessity and often after a great price has been paid by the general population.

Unfortunately, as the tragedy unfolds, the Economic Class often tries to ride out the calamity. This is understandable, since people have a limited capacity to internalize long-term trends. In fact, because people adjust to new circumstances relatively quickly, it is almost impossible for them to compare the condition of life in the present versus the past. The common vernacular for this concept is “the new normal”, which upon the slightest reflection represents an obvious paradox, since the word normal implies a historically stable trend.

The Third Reich as a Textbook Example

History books are filled with examples of societies that have seen the rise of the Praetorian Class, followed by their own subsequent collapse, ranging from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union. Of all the examples, however, none seems more instructive than the rise and fall of the Nazi Third Reich in Germany.

Over a period of two decades, starting with the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the end of World War II, Germany saw the rise of a charismatic demagogue, the rise of police and paramilitary forces, the development of a military-industrial complex, the assumption of industry by the State, the demonization and persecution of scapegoats finally resulting in widespread warfare and societal ruin. Because the timeline is relatively compressed compared to other historical examples, spanning a single generation, the Third Reich serves as an excellent example of the broader consequences a society experiences when we observe the rise of the Praetorian Class. Furthermore, by virtue of its recent occurrence, many cultural and technological parallels serve as clear milestones.

SWalker on February 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Yes. We The People should be shadowed by ”enforcement personnel” at all times, but the ruling class must be allowed their “indiscretions”, for ruling over us is morally arduous and so requires understanding and mercy that the underclass do not deserve. The most revlutionary act you can take is to turn off your T.V.

ronsfi on February 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM

I said it once and it bears repeating. Just look up the case of “Clever Hans” and apply that same logic to the drug sniffing dog.

For those that don’t know “Clever Hans” was a horse that supposedly could do arithmatic. He really couldn’t, he was reacting to his trainer. The very same idea applies to a dog.

Dave_d on February 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM

A hypothetical from the second Reason article I linked above:

Russ Jones, who worked as a K-9 officer and narcotics detective in San Jose, California, for 10 years and is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, notes that the drug-residue excuse is a double-edged sword for police, because it undermines the case for using dog alerts to justify searches. “You’re telling me that my car can be searched because the guy who changed the tires at the tire shop smokes marijuana, and his hands tightened up the lug nuts and put the hub cap back on?” Jones says. “Suppose the UPS guy uses amphetamine or cocaine, and he drops off a book that I ordered from Amazon.com. If a dog smells it, that gives you the right to search my home?”

Also, regarding accuracy of drug dogs:

a 2006 study by the New South Wales Ombudsman in Australia, an independent agency analogous to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, looked at more than 10,000 searches of people triggered by dog alerts and discovered that 74 percent of them found no illegal drugs. More-recent data from New South Wales indicate an even higher error rate: 80 percent in 2011.

Those numbers look almost respectable compared to the results of a 1984 operation in which Florida state police stopped about 1,330 vehicles at roadblocks and walked dogs around them. If one dog alerted, another was brought in, and vehicles were searched only if both dogs indicated the presence of illegal drugs. That happened 28 times, but those searches yielded just one drug arrest. In other words, even when two dogs both signaled the presence of drugs, they were wrong 96 percent of the time.

If roadside breathalysers so frequently wrongly indicated that a person was drunk when he wasn’t; i.e. if 96% of “positive” breathalyser analyses were later contradicted by blood tests, we’d stop using them.

s_dog on February 23, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Regarding the record of “hits” and “misses” – the Court didn’t say it was too hard to keep documentation, it was far worse than that. The court said it didn’t matter how many “misses” the dog has because everyone knows drug dogs have a whole lot of misses, and that’s just too bad, and it just confuses juries if you’re allowed to talk about it. So now you aren’t even allowed to ask about it.

Tom Servo on February 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM

My dad was coming home from visiting his folks in Germany, circa late 80′s or early 90′s. He was in the US, in a line with his suitcase, I guess going through customs and they had an agent with a drug sniffing dog going down the line, sniffing at the suitcases. The dog got to my dad, sat down, and placed his paw directly on my dad’s suitcase. Curses, he was fingered ( err pawed) They asked dad to open his suitcase, and ta da, it was his mom’s ginger/cinnamon cookies that had “alerted” the dog. Everyone had a good laugh (pre 9/11) This did happen at an airport but it’s an example of how fallible some of their noses can be.

DoubleClutchin on February 23, 2013 at 4:31 PM

So how about a ‘bomb sniffing dog’ walking through the waiting area of an airport? Or when you travel though a ICE checkpoint along the border on I-8? Those dogs aren’t there to sniff out illegal aliens.

And don’t forget the ubiquitous ‘security cameras’ all over the place today.

If you place that high a value on your “privacy”, stay home.

GarandFan on February 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I’ve been a victim of this police scam. Dog alerted and there was nothing for it to alert on. Illegal search (in my view) was conducted and, of course, nothing was found.

That individuals have a lower expectation of privacy in their cars than their homes is a long-established principle.

Sure, but how much lower? I wouldn’t be surprised if someday they make the case that your home is less secure from search because you can hide more stuff there.
Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

HellCat on February 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

I presently have my dogs in nose work training as a fun activity, so I thought I might comment here.

First of all, we don’t teach our dogs to signal when they find an odor. We learn to observe their body language when they find an odor. During a trial, the handlers don’t know where the odor is either, so you have to recognize your dog’s signals to identify an alert.

Drug sniffing dogs go through intensive training. Yes, a cop could say a dog alerted when they really didn’t, or a dog could alert to please its handler. But though you can’t cross-examine the dog, I would think you could get the same info from cross-examining the handler. How did the dog indicate an alert? Has the dog been reliable in the past? The handler is saying that the dog indicated drugs, so make him prove that his interpretation was correct and reliable.

As for the meth-making ingredients – although the dog may not have been trained to identify those odors, it may have learned through experience to associate them with other drugs, if it has found illegal drugs in actual searches in the past. That’s because of the way dogs are trained. The first odor they learn to detect is birch. Once they have birch down, the birch odor is paired with the second odor – cloves (were their cloves in your Mom’s ginger/cinnamon cookies?). Dogs smell scents separately, even when they’re located together, so that’s how they learn to find cloves.

So if they found marijuana, for example, along with pre-meth ingredients on more than one occasion, they would’ve learned to find pre-meth ingredients. It’s just how it works.

NbyNW on February 23, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

+1 Sorry, I forgot to add the police scam happened to me too. Pulled over for driving “vaguely” and they found my daughter’s insulin needles. They started searching my body for needle marks and almost brought me in for a drug test without any sign of a drug or alcohol.

And we should let these idiots be the only ones in society allowed to carry guns?

HellCat on February 23, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Probable cause is the level needed to make an arrest. Stating PC is needed to deploy a dog around the exterior of the car is silly. If I have PC I will arrest you and do an inventory of the vehicle.

Case law typically allows for the deployment of the dog during the course of a traffic stop. That stop is being conducted for a violation of the law. During the course of the stop a k9 can be deployed without furthering the detention necessary to issue a citation. To detain after the business is taken care of for the violation one would need “consent to detain” or reasonable suspicion to believe a crime is occurring beyond the reason for the traffic stop. For example the passenger claims the driver is his brother. The driver claims he is a hitchhiker, they both give different starting/ending points for the journey and one has a prior PWID charge. A cop will probably have enough to detain the car to deploy a k9 around the exterior of the vehicle. If the dog hits, it can be searched without a warrant based on current case law.

Sorry…I saw the comment in the original post about PC needed for a K9 deployment….that is so massively outside current case law it shows a certain level of ignorance regarding current law and legal detentions.

Inzax on February 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM

NavyMustang on February 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I agree.

Mimzey on February 23, 2013 at 5:18 PM

since when did Michelle Obama learn to sniff for drugs?

Machismo on February 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Pulled over for driving “vaguely” and they found my daughter’s insulin needles. They started searching my body for needle marks and almost brought me in for a drug test without any sign of a drug or alcohol.

And we should let these idiots be the only ones in society allowed to carry guns?

HellCat on February 23, 2013 at 5:16 PM

What did “vaguely” mean? I’m sure you asked and I’m sure they answered.

Finding needles and looking for track marks is just common sense.

Bottom line..they didn’t take you in.
How is that a “scam”?

If it was a scam, they would have taken you in.

Mimzey on February 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM

But, absence erratic driving or other indications that the operator was impaired, the Constitution rather clearly requires a search warrant issued by a magistrate.

I agree with James Joyner on this one. Nor am I surprised that SCOTUS sided with MOAR. GUBMINT. POWR. as that has been its modus operandi for years now. I will be surprised if another decade passes before a large number of people are actively ignoring the government and all of its edicts. Whether or not that disobedience erupts into actual violence is yet to be determined. Let’s just say that I’m not optimistic.

Physics Geek on February 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Interesting article on a dog that sniffs orca poop:

Tucker the dog sniffs out resident orcas

NbyNW on February 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Since we have a large # of potheads around this site, I’ll just say I’m perfectly fine with this decision and the use of drug dogs in general. Don’t like it, don’t use drugs and problem solved.

Let the flame war begin.

Rogue on February 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Since we have a lartge number of gun owners around this site, I’ll just say I’m perfectly fine with with recent gun control legislation proposals to confiscate and inspect your guns. Don’t like it, give up your guns and problem solved.

Because the 2nd Amendment > 4th Amendment?

Spliff Menendez on February 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

The dog is not a police officer – no matter how much they use the phrase “my partner” – he is a tool, and can be left behind in the normal routine of an officer’s work. If there is a procedure that says otherwise, I would challenge it in court.

GWB on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Not exactly true.

Dog Security: In recognition of the valuable role these animals play in police duties and the dangers they face, there have been a number of measures to ensure their protection. These include outfitting dogs with bulletproof vests to protect them from guns and some areas have passed laws that make attacking a police dog a felony. In some jurisdictions police dogs are considered to be police officers in law so that any penalty that can be applied to the assault of a human police officer can also apply to an assault on a police dog.

wiki

A growing number of law-enforcement organizations outfit dogs with ballistic vests, and some make the dogs sworn officers, with their own police badges and IDs.

Del Dolemonte on February 23, 2013 at 5:30 PM

They just found on the boarder a half ton of weed inside a truck. The was not one space in the truck frame, doors, tires and gas tank where there was no weed. With just looking at the driver they would have let the truck continue on as the drivers paperwork was in order to enter as they where an American and had two children. No reason to think there was anything wrong if not for the simple dog hit.

Half-ton of marijuana found in truck at Texas border

tjexcite on February 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Spliff Menendez on February 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

I missed the part where it says “The right of the people to use drugs shall not be infringed”.

Apples and oranges imo.

Mimzey on February 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

How do you cross examine a breathalyzer?

Blake on February 23, 2013 at 3:26 PM

You check the accuracy level for that model; you look at its calibration records; you look at its maintenance records; you question the methodology of how it is supposed to be used vs. how the officer used it.

Just off the top of my head.

ss396 on February 23, 2013 at 6:20 PM

That individuals have a lower expectation of privacy in their cars than their homes is a long-established principle.

Roe v. Wade established that we have an inalienable right to privacy. Far from having a low expectation of privacy, I have an absolute expectation of complete privacy that may only be infringed under proper due process. A random discovery is not due process.

ss396 on February 23, 2013 at 6:23 PM

What does the innocent new owner do then?Liam on February 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

If it was a young captain in the air force at Barksdale AFB back in the 80s, he got busted, lost his commission and future. Moral of the story for US was get your car inspected ASAP before taking ownership. What ever happened to “better 10th get away than one innocent punished”? Not so much these days and it comes from both sides of the aisle in the name of protecting the children and cracking down on crime in exchange for illusory security. For those who see nothing wrong with it may one of your innocent kids get busted for something so stupid or at the hands of a crooked bully posing as a cop.

AH_C on February 23, 2013 at 6:29 PM

If the dog is brought up to the car and smells drugs, even though there was no previous reason to believe the driver had any, it’s clearly “evidence” that there may well be a crime in progress.

It’s “clearly” nothing of the sort. You are aware that when these dogs are tested in controlled, double-blind experiments run by people who are not cops or people who sell the dogs to cops, they produce error rates of between 40-70%, right? We may as well just allow cops to use dowsing rods.

Interestingly , the amount of false positives skyrocket when the cop handler is told (incorrectly) ahead of time where the “drugs” are located.

“The dog alerted” are the new, utterly unfalsifiable way to ignore the 4th Amendment. (Not that it wasn’t a dead letter already.)

CTD on February 23, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Interestingly , the amount of false positives skyrocket when the cop handler is told (incorrectly) ahead of time where the “drugs” are located.

That was proven in this test:

“A 2011 study led by the University of California at Davis neurologist Lisa Lit, reported in the journal Animal Cognition, shows how powerful a handler’s cuing of his dog can be. Lit and her colleagues had 18 handlers walk their police dogs through four rooms where they were told drug or explosive scents might be hidden but where in fact there were no target substances to be found.

“Each team went through each room twice, for a total of 144 sweeps, and generated 225 false alerts. The alerts occurred most frequently near markers that the handlers were told indicated the presence of scents; they were even more likely at those spots than at unmarked locations where the researchers had hidden Slim Jims and new tennis balls as distractions. ‘Human more than dog influences affected alert locations,’ Lit and her colleagues concluded. ‘This confirms that handler beliefs affect outcomes of scent detection dog deployments.’”

s_dog on February 23, 2013 at 6:40 PM

As far as house searches based on sniffer dogs go, keep an eye on the decision coming up probably next week on Florida vs Jardines.

“Florida v. Jardines, ___ U.S. ___ (2013), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court will decide whether a dog sniff at the front door of a house by a detection dog trained to identify narcotics is a Fourth Amendment “search” requiring probable cause and a search warrant, or whether it is an acceptable form of minimally invasive warrantless search.”

s_dog on February 23, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Two words: Clever Hans

CTD on February 23, 2013 at 6:46 PM

They just found on the boarder a half ton of weed inside a truck. The was not one space in the truck frame, doors, tires and gas tank where there was no weed. With just looking at the driver they would have let the truck continue on as the drivers paperwork was in order to enter as they where an American and had two children. No reason to think there was anything wrong if not for the simple dog hit.

Half-ton of marijuana found in truck at Texas border

tjexcite

The mother was turned over to ICE, and the kids are being forced to live with relatives. Don’t these folks realize they aren’t supposed to punish the children for the actions of the parents? Let this woman go free!!! It’s for the children.

How do you cross examine a breathalyzer?

Blake

Breathalyzers aren’t used to establish probable cause or reasonable suspicion, they are used after probable cause or reasonable suspicion has been established. Breathalyzers don’t tell cops to pull someone over and see if they’ve been drinking. Dogs on the other hand do, generally speaking. It’s a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.

xblade on February 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM

I missed the part where it says “The right of the people to use drugs shall not be infringed”.

Apples and oranges imo.

Mimzey

Yes, you did miss something:

4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It doesn’t say we can search you illegally if you’re a drug user.

xblade on February 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

I’m in the middle on this, I’m for cops having the tools like drug or explosive sniffing dogs…but I also see how it could be abused.

…and as far as this bold comment which I take as hyperbole…

Any dog that comes on my property uninvited is subject to death.

Don’t like them, don’t want them, won’t HAVE them on my property. You want in? If I didn’t invite you, you had better present a proper and legal warrant first.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 2:48 PM

If my non-police dog happened to accidentally run across your property and your threat was true, there’s be hell to pay for you..black and blue and I wouldn’t care about what happened to me.

celt on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Your “what if” of cocaine in the back is covered under the “plain sight” exemption. If something is in plain sight the officer does not need a warrant.

The questions with the dogs are twofold:

1: Is the use of a dog an illegal warrant-less search in the first place?

2: Are dogs giving false “alerts” based on cues from their human handlers rather then what they smell? Thus allowing police to use dogs plus their “hunches” to circumvent search warrant requirements?

To me the first question is probably a yes when it’s your home, and a no when it’s your car, and the dog is outside the car.

The 2nd question is the more worrisome one, and I tend come down on the side of saying that the dogs are being used a way to avoid the search warrant requirements. Probably unintentionally, but that does not change the problem.

Sackett on February 23, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Some false alerts by dogs may be the result of residual odor. In other words, the car may have had pot in it at one time, but the driver was smart enough to remove it before going through the border.

Other false alerts may be handler error-intentional or not. I support the police in general, but it’s always good to have a healthy skepticism as corruption exists.

NbyNW on February 23, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Another attempt at Tucker the dogs sniffs orcas:

http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/Tucker-the-dog-sniffs-out-resident-orcas-101331204.html

NbyNW on February 23, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Here is my take…
Things you leave out in the open to normal human detection from outside your property is fair game to find probable cause. I think this is clear.

But what about the fact that drugs can be sniffed out by a dog? It is not a human doing the searching first and foremost, and you cannot face the dog in trial. But since it is open space to the public, I think the cop can use that as a way to get a warrant. There should be limits to this use, and I think a good limit would be score rating individual dogs. Any dog who scores higher than say an arbitrary 10% false positive based on warrants granted should be retired and removed from service.

But the government has many other options available for going beyond the human detection. They can use infrared detectors to see if your house is too hot, maybe growing weed. But in the mean time, perhaps they are peeping at you going at it with your spouse in the kitchen… Should they be allowed to use this ability without a search warrant? If you put up IR reflectors to stop the peeping, would they use that as probable cause…

here I think we should side on liberty and say that before the cops can use these types of devices, they need to have a warrant that specifies what they are looking for and where exactly they are looking. Usage beyond that should give them civil liability.

astonerii on February 23, 2013 at 11:41 PM

If my non-police dog happened to accidentally run across your property and your threat was true, there’s be hell to pay for you..black and blue and I wouldn’t care about what happened to me.

celt on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM

I’d never do that.

But a police dog? DEAD.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Dog Security: In recognition of the valuable role these animals play in police duties and the dangers they face, there have been a number of measures to ensure their protection. These include outfitting dogs with bulletproof vests to protect them from guns and some areas have passed laws that make attacking a police dog a felony. In some jurisdictions police dogs are considered to be police officers in law so that any penalty that can be applied to the assault of a human police officer can also apply to an assault on a police dog.

It would be utterly ridiculous for someone to be charged with murder (cop killing) for offing a police dog that attacked them when SWAT teams kill family pets routinely when doing erroneous home invasions.

DOGS AREN’T PEOPLE! They don’t have the rights of people. And, yes, a government dog on my property uninvited is going to die.

wildcat72 on February 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Dogs are easily trained to give a false alert. They want to please their handler. Take one of these dogs, add this ruling, stir, and the 4th Amendment requirement of probable cause vanishes like a pea under the shell of the con artist.

Adjoran on February 24, 2013 at 1:28 AM

While we might think the Supreme Court should change its tune on this issue, existing precedent makes it a well-founded decision:

A sort of binary test (eg drugs v. no drugs) has been held to be not a search (City of Indianapolis v. Edmond). The reasoning is that there is only an indication of contraband, rather than a search. Or as Whoopi Goldberg might say, it’s not a “search search.” A similar rationale is in play for the scanning of emails against a database of illegal pornographic images or even text that indicates terrorist activity.

Crispian on February 24, 2013 at 1:55 AM

astonerii,

The Court held that the use of heat sensors on houses to be unconstitutional without a warrant.

Crispian on February 24, 2013 at 1:57 AM

The bottom line is that if you are ever subjected to a drug dog alert, you should still refuse a search. This case does not grant a blanket probable cause on dog alert, it was approved in the particulars presented at trial.

Never talk to the police if there is any chance you might be a suspect. Even if you only tell the truth and give no incriminating evidence, your statements can still help convict you of a crime you did not commit! http://youtu.be/6wXkI4t7nuc

Adjoran on February 24, 2013 at 4:07 AM

Why not X-ray/infra-red scan every vehicle for any possible contraband?

Because it’s an intrusive search.

As is a drug-sniffing dog huffing around at random.

Idiot Court, again.

Criminally stupid.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2013 at 5:16 AM

It’s because of B.S. like this that I support the legalization of drugs.

agmartin on February 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Exactly.

DrMagnolias on February 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM

A dog should not be probably cause for anything. The only appropriate use for drug-sniffing dogs is when the police already have probable cause and have obtained the appropriate search warrant, and then use the dogs to locate what they are now legally authorized to search for.

But, more than that, random traffic stops are clearly unconstitutional on their face anyway. Yes, I know courts have upheld them. Doesn’t change the facts. Police offers detain you — and, yes, they are detaining you if you can’t refuse to participate — just in case you might be committing a crime of some sort. Absolutely unacceptable.

Shump on February 24, 2013 at 7:19 AM

One of the biggest failures of our constitution is to give unlimited power to tSC with the understanding that shallow men might impeach them if they created law from the bench.
It’s quite clear the opposite is true–they are only there to create law for the political class to control folks. Bad law becomes precedent and the default destructioon of the constitution.
The higher authority is Nature’s God who alone gives us our rights.. Our founders might have best stopped right there and avoided the inevitable confrontation betweet those who love and those who abhor that reality. We are rushing blindly toward that precipice now….

Don L on February 24, 2013 at 7:27 AM

The police believe that they can stop and search anyone, anytime for any or no reason. I work and live nights and have been stopped for “weaving within the lane”, “thought your license plate light was out”, “we’ve had a lot of burglaries in this area”, etc.

Random stoping for intoxication is crap, upheld by courts or not. This was the nose of the camel under the tent re: privacy rights of motorists.

I love dogs of all sorts, but police dogs are as capable of error as are their handlers, and can be encouraged to “false alert” at any convenient time. Sending them to intentionally injure a human is b.s., and in fact, the dogs have to be adversity-trained and reinforced to do this as they become likely to play with those they are told to hunt and injure.

trl on February 24, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Comment pages: 1 2