Supreme Court rules in favor of drug-sniffing dogs
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 21-Feb-2013
Drug cases in Texas and throughout the country may change after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of drug-sniffing dogs and their reliability when search a suspect's vehicle.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that police officers can use drug-sniffing dogs to search vehicles during routine traffic stops for possible drug crimes, regardless of what drugs they were trained to detect. The Supreme Court issued the ruling for a specific drug case in Florida where a police officer used a drug-sniffing dog during a traffic stop.
The court said that it was appropriate for police to use the dog and that even though the dog found drugs it was not trained to detect, the evidence can still be used against the defendant. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said that it was okay to use drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops and because the dog alerted the police that it detected drugs in the vehicle, the police had probably cause to search the defendant's truck.
The justices also discussed the reliability of drug-sniffing dogs, stating that it is not necessary to review a dog's drug-sniffing expertise on a case-by-case basis to show if the dog is reliable or not. Instead, they said that dogs who have documented training to search for illegal drug activity are qualified to alert police, giving law enforcement probable cause to search a suspect's vehicle.
The case around drug-sniffing dogs has been debated for a while because of the impact it may have on an individual's Fourth Amendment rights and not being subjected to unreasonable and illegal searches.
The Supreme Court will be reviewing another case in the future regarding drug-sniffing dogs and if police officers can use them on the doorstep of someone's home.
Source: USA Today, "Supreme Court rules in favor of drug-sniffing dog," Richard Wolf, Feb. 19, 2013
Categories: Drug Possession, Drug Crimes