“Does a police dog’s "sniff" outside a house give officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs, or is the ‘sniff’ itself an unconstitutional search? So goes the underlying question in Florida v. Jardines, the case the Supreme Court decided to hear last Friday.
Jardines, as an Associated Press article last Wednesday referred to it as, is “the latest in a long line of disputes about whether the use of dogs to find drugs, explosives and other illegal or dangerous substances violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure.”
The Los Angeles Times, Friday, noted that “in the past the court has upheld the use of dogs to sniff luggage at airports and around cars that were stopped along the highway, and that using trained dogs in public areas didn't violate anyone's right to privacy. The Florida Supreme Court, however, has said homes are different, and that the4th Amendment ‘applies with extra force where the sanctity of the home is concerned.’ Based on that rationale, they overturned a Miami man's conviction for growing marijuana at home.” (Fla. Supreme Court decision)
“Acting on a tip,” the Times recounted, “officers had taken their dog to the front porch of a privately-owned home. The dog detected the odor of marijuana and sat down as he was trained to do. The police then used this information to obtain a search warrant and found 179 marijuana plants inside the house.
Here, the Dispatch article noted “in one other major ruling in 2001, Kyllo v. U.S., the justices decided that police could not use thermal-imaging technology to detect heat from marijuana growing-operations from outside a home because the equipment also could detect lawful activity. There the Court had said, ‘We have said that the Fourth Amendment draws a firm line at the entrance to the house.’”
Petition for certiorari
Brief in opposition