Canine as a search warrant? Dogs vs Fourth Amendment
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can sure as hell take him to the Supreme Court. That’ll be the case twice this week when the country’s top justices hear two separate cases involving drug-sniffing canines.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in both Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris — two distinct but similar cases that are being argued all the way to the Washington. In Jardines, the Court will be asked to consider if using law enforcement dogs to sniff around the homes of citizens can be considered a search by itself, and with Harris, Chief Justice John Roberts and his robe-clad colleagues will have to hear arguments about the actual abilities of canines to locate contraband.
Pending the outcomes of either case, the use of drug-sniffing dogs by law enforcement agencies across the country could soon be drastically different.
Joelis Jardines got in trouble with the law six years ago after a chocolate Labrador retriever named Franky found a suspicious smell coming from the man’s home in south Florida. The police had received an anonymous tip that Jardines might be harvesting marijuana inside of his residence, so they brought Franky over to sniff out the scene. Based on the dog’s response to the scent of the pot, the cops went back to court and asked for a warrant. From there, they were able to go inside and confiscate roughly 25 pounds of weed.
That search was thrown out by Florida’s top court, though, after it was ruled that…