“Don’t put your paws on my property,” has a whole new meaning after a recent state Supreme Court ruling. Police are always looking for ways to nail drug dealers and police dogs have proven to be great tools for sniffing out drug crimes.
People can hide drugs from view, but they often get caught thanks to a police dog’s sniffer. The scent of drugs in the air can be picked quickly by K-9 cops. What happens when the sniffer reveals drugs, but the K-9 oversteps its legal boundaries? That is the question that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide.
From Fox News:
Petitioners are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which they claim a police K-9 officer violated the Constitution by jumping up and placing its paws on a vehicle during a traffic stop.
The lower court case came about after a police dog in Idaho sniffed out meth residue and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop. The problem, according to the defense, is that the K-9 also jumped and placed his front paws onto the door of the car. That, petitioners argued, violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches.”
The driver of the car was ultimately convicted on felony drug possession charges. He claimed the K-9-supported conviction was wrong and appealed to the state Idaho Supreme Court.
A little leash control may have been warranted in this case as the higher court tossed the conviction. Judges ruled that the K-9’s pounce onto the car door constituted a “warrantless search.” It was a 3-2 ruling by the higher court that stated while police K-9s are free to sniff the air around a given vehicle, they are not allowed to attempt to get inside the vehicle without a warrant.
The judges elaborated on their decision further by stating that “the difference between a dog’s tail that brushes against the bumper of your vehicle as it walks by — and a dog who, without privilege or consent, approaches your vehicle to jump on its roof, sit on its hood, stand on its window or door.”
This may seem like a silly challenge to a felony drug case conviction for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider. But this isn’t the first time SCOTUS has taken up such a case. In 2013 the high court ruled that it is unconstitutional for police to bring a drug search dog onto a suspect’s property without a search warrant.
- High court rules that police K-9 paws on cars are not allowed.
- Convicted drug user gets big win after bust from traffic stop.
- S. Supreme Court takes up case where conviction was overturned.
Source: Fox News