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Supreme Court Throws Cop Dogs A Bone While Leashing People

February 21, 2013 by  

Supreme Court Throws Cop Dogs A Bone While Leashing People

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a pass to law enforcement agencies employing trained drug-sniffing dogs used in vehicle searches.

The ruling overturns a 2011 Florida Supreme Court decision that rejected evidence cultivated when a Liberty County man was arrested following a dog’s alert outside his vehicle.

The sniff alone, the State court found, didn’t provide sufficient probable cause to validate the search without supporting evidence that the dog and its handler had accurately executed similar searches throughout their law enforcement careers.

But the Supreme Court ruled that drug dogs’ noses don’t have to be infallible; they just have to be bona fide. An alert by a dog that has passed an approved certification program or has been recently trained is good enough to proceed with a legal search. There’s no need to document its accuracy or consistency in past searches.

Justice Elena Kagan, a 2010 Barack Obama nominee, blithely surmised the Court’s unanimous opinion:

In short, a probable-cause hearing focusing on a dog’s alert should proceed much like any other. The court should allow the parties to make their best case, con­sistent with the usual rules of criminal procedure. And the court should then evaluate the proffered evidence to decide what all the circumstances demonstrate…The question – similar to every inquiry into probable cause – is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime. A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test.

And here, Aldo’s did.

Yes, Aldo is the dog from the Florida case; the one with the right “snuff.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter, a George H.W. Bush nominee, was much less admissive of police dogs’ reliability in 2005, when he wrote the dissenting opinion in a similar drug-search case. Souter wrote the “infallible dog” is “a creature of legal fiction” and referenced other cases in which the animals’ drug searches resulted in “alerting with less than perfect accuracy.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • FreedomFighter

    The dogs know, they can smell an ant fart in a windstorm.

    What bugs me is when they kick the tire to get the dog to bark then rip your car apart, or call the bomb squad and blow your car up — have had that experiance — nothing in the car illegal, emergency flares radio, space blankets, walking stick, emergency food rations and some water.

    The dogs are smart and can be trained to bark on command. Bad ruling.

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

    • Vicki

      It would appear that we will need to use jury nullification to nullify the SCOTUS violation of the 4th Amendment. :( AS FF Says, it is easy to train a dog to “alert” what the certification requires AND for some other signal.

      Kinda hard to ask the dog if he was dual trained. And it would not show up in certification either.

      • charlie

        There is a reason ‘jury nullification’ is seldom used, OR never explained to jurist.
        Ready for this? The court will not relinquish the total control over the outcome of the ‘dog and pony show’.

        Check this out.

  • Wumingren

    A police dog (K-9) once alerted on my travel bag upon my return to Kadena AB, Okinawa, from Clark AB in the Philippines. The SP had me unzip the bag to allow the dog to sniff inside, and the dog shoved his head in and proceeded to maul the dozen, large, ripe, lucious mangoes that were inside. There were no drugs, but that dog just wouldn’t let go of my mangoes. No compensation was made for my loss.

  • ibcamn

    Holy cow,i don’t believe i’m gonna say this,but i’m on the fence with this one!(that’s messed up)Okay,here i go,i have had my share of these mangy mutts in the past.they have for years harassed my friends and me!out in S.D.,the police singled me out(of the dozen bikes i was riding with)pulled me over for too tall of handle bars,it was a 10 dollar fine,on the spot(since i was from Wi.)after he did this,without measuring,he looked at me and said”can i search your bike?”,which i said”that aint happening”to which he said”you won’t allow me,that gives me suspicion that you are hiding something!”,he got on the radio and called for a K-9 unit!

    2 hours later,while laying in the ditch with my ol’ lady the whole time”,the police K-9 came wheeling up and went round and round my bike and when i started laughing(don’t ever do this)the officer stopped and poked his finger on my seat,the dog sniffed it,then the officer poked at my left turn signal,the dog sniffed and sat down!..the officer looked at me and then to the other officer and said,got a hit!..okay,any of you who read anything of mine,you know i HATE drugs,…now at this point there are already several squad cars here and i’m pissed.this K-9 cop walks by me with a smile,i say(again,don’t ever do this)i said”that dog is f#*@ing worthless”,the cop turned around went back to where the cops were tearing my bike apart,our cloths and gear were all over the place,the cop that pulled me over pulls out my perscription pills,holds up the bottle and sticks it to the dogs nose and gives it to the K-9 cop(now it gets worse,and it’s 100 degrees out)for the next hour,the K-9 cop sits in his unit and is looking through and calling in my meds,talking to my doctor!now where in this hell does this mutt patrol decide to do all this crap to us,meanwhile the bike is apart and that cop hasn’t found sheet,except my pistol!

    Now these K-9 units,i heard of a company that trained dogs that didn’t work!it was in the news all over!at this time i’m thinking,what did this dog smell?my meds?my pistol?my a$$?more time goes by,cop calls in my pistol reg.,alls good!!meds and pistol,they didn’t find sheet with me(and at this time the cop still wouldn’t measure my bars,at my frequant request)so i thought i hit a group of thugs(w/badges)and a dog that don’t hunt!!the cop said(once)sorry for the delay…and let us at this point i start spouting off(again,don’t do this)about what the dog smelt,so now the K-9 unit cop starts yelling at me about how i was carrying my meds!!(all in one bottle)he said”i should arrest you and charge you with transporting narcotics and impound your bike!”,i said”not”.i put it all back together and we packed our stuff back up,and got the hell outta there to meet up with all the others!

    All that babble just to say,do you think these dogs are a tool or a pet??because just from this,the cop(and his protective nature of the dogs ability) had to of had that mutt trained to do his evil bidding yet the thing is a police officer because its trained to do this job!cops are corrupt,why not the mutt?!?!

    Now on the other side,i have seen drug dogs at airports that are just vantastic and kick a$$!and i’m glad they catch drug mules and people who smuggle animals and things like that!those dogs are needed at points like this and at certain points(not at inland border checkpoint) around the world to assist officers to do a job of catching drug runners!

    this is the fence thing i said at the start of this story,is it just the handler that can corrupt the mutt,or is it the improper dog training or is it all just a load of crap we fell for???

    PS,by the way,my ol’ lady was really cool about all of that(it was her first big bike tour) and she couldn’t wait to tell that story to her friends when we got home!and i got chewed out by my doc for putting all my meds into one container!(again,don’t do this)…..

  • Rick

    I well simpatize with these abusesof authorityby ther police involved, If in fact the case involved the person was infact found in posession of drugs. and therefore the cause was probable. Probable doesn’t mean absolute. If a trained dog reacts then police would be remiss if they didn’t check further. If not abusing the authorityand follow the rules of vidence and department policy then there is no problem. If it takes drugs off the street it is worth honest and minor inconviences.

    • Vicki

      Spoken like a subject. I am sure the police would prefer that.

    • restorefreedom

      Your such a good sheeple it’s not about drugs it’s about civil rights and freedom and the freedom of our children and the end of america as we know it. SERIOUSLY1

  • Jeff Rowbottom

    This is just nuts,who’s to say they have a so called bona fide but bark at cars on command also.Our rights to privacy is dwindling fast.This also could be precedence on how we in the future hold the people cops responsible.

    • Bruce

      first they came for the drug users, but since you don’t use drugs (and those people are less than people, just like the Jews were) you said it was OK for them to do whatever they want to bust that drug user, violate any of his right, he’s a bad person. You didn’t stand up for their rights, now it is YOU who they are coming for, so who will save your rights? who’s rights did you save? Divide the population against itself and make them fight each other, and hate each other, then to defeat them it will be easy. First teach them not to love their neighbor, then teach them to covet their neighbors belongings, tell them it is ok to lie to get your way, teach them to follow blindly and not to think for themselves, tell them God is a lie, and there is no devil, if it feels good do it. Then the country falls apart by it’s self, with no bullets used.

      • bandit

        @Bruce: you are spot on. All of the real damage to the Constitution has been for the “War on Drugs”, but *both* sides (this includes a lot of readers of this blog) were all for “let’s string up the dirty druggies” without considering what was really going on.

        It is trivial for a corrupt cop to set you up. Just look at Rampart, Tulia TX, Chicago, NYC. Sorry, my bad – those were blacks and Hispanics, so it was OK. Speaking of OK, if you are found in that state with *one* seed or a roach, it’s LIFE in prison. Not to mention taking your car, house, etc.

    • restorefreedom

      The handler can do so many things to make the dog go off we actually have been here for years. We have no rights quit fooling ourselves we’re nearly done.

  • cawmun cents

    Here is my question…..

    Suppose a crooked cop wants to search you and has dope of his own,that he brought so he can search you….?
    This is all done on camera,so it will seem on the up and up,as the dog responds to the drugs the crooked cop has on them.
    Then wont the dog bark,and an illegal search of your vehicle which violates your 4th Amendment rights occur anyway?
    This is just one more reason why there is no real Consititutional rights anymore.
    The Supreme Court is now a joke.
    And the joke is on us.
    Allways respond the same way.
    In a non-threatening but audible manner,hold up your hands so they can clearly be seen in the video footage,and state audibly that you do not give permission for a search of your vehicle or person.
    Respond continually that you do not give them permission to search you or your vehicle or your property.
    The let it be sorted ina court of law.
    But be sure you stand in front of the cruiser when you make your statement….so you will be on record by digital fottage that you did not give them permission.
    If taken to court have your defender,or council request this footage.
    Let the judge see how you respond,peacefully but audibly.
    Remember that unlawful search and seizure of property or person violates Constitutional rights.
    Dont worry about being arrested if you are in the right,just have the footage shown.
    Often for their(LEO) own protection footage is made of arrests.
    Be sure you are on and in the right,and then tell your attorney to view the footage of the stop in its entirety,and then release the evidence to the judge.
    Otherwise if no footage is available have it thrown out of court,and then countersue the LEO that unlawfully searched you.


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