The US Supreme Court is deciding that very issue. The case stems from a Florida case, where a police dog in the front yard of a house smelled marijuana, thus prompting police to enter the house and search the premises. Police found marijuana inside the residence and made an arrest.
After being found guilty of the related charges, the defendant appealed and the Florida Supreme Court overturned the ruling, saying that the search was a violation of the defendants 4th amendment rights.
The police and the DA say that this is legitimate “police investigative work”. However, defense lawyers and citizens are strongly protesting this police conduct.
The argument is clear on behalf of those who support the constitutional right of all citizens to be free from unlawful searches in their home. Isn’t a police dog nothing more than an extension of law enforcement? Shouldn’t the law require that police obtain a search warrant before busting into your home and arresting you because a dog “sniffs” out what he or she believes is unlawful drugs?
The Florida Supreme Court said the police went to far this time and threw out the drug conviction. However, the US Supreme Court is considering taking on the “dog sniffing case” and if they do nobody knows how they will rule.
What are your thoughts?