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Friday, April 19, 2013

Peace Officers Can’t Bring a Drug-Sniffing Dog on Your Porch


The United States Supreme Court held in Florida v. Jardines, (No. 11–564, Mar. 26, 2013) held that allowing a drug sniffing dog to come on to a person’s front porch was itself a prohibited search illegal without a warrant under the fourth amendment. Justice Scalia wrote the main opinion which Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. That opinion held that the kind of permission that people ordinarily give for people to come on their front porch does not include super-human smell-testing. The opinion emphasized that the police’s action violated the homeowner’s property rights. Justice Kagan wrote a concurring opinion in which she said that she would also have ruled that what the police did violated the defendant’s privacy rights. She was joined in that opinion by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor. Both of these opinions implied that bringing a drug-sniffing dog on a porch was like using a thermal imaging device on a house from the outside looking for grow lamps like they rejected in Kyllo v. United States in 2001 Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy and Breyer. They held that when Jardines implicitly gave permission for people to come up on his porch, which included permission that someone might bring a dog on the porch for a short time.
Florida v. Jardines, No. 11–564, (U.S., Mar. 26, 2013)

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