Thursday, March 28, 2013
Drug Sniffing Dogs Unconstitutional
In a 5 to 4 vote, the court ruled to uphold a Florida Supreme Court ruling that dismissed evidence seized based on a scent by a chocolate Lab named Franky. The dog’s ability to detect marijuana growing inside a home in Miami by sniffing outside the house was unconstitutional according to the court.
Throughout Franky’s career as a police dog with the Miami-Dade Police Department, he was responsible for the seizure of more than 2.5 tons of marijuana and $4.9 million in drug-contaminated money. After seven years of assisting the force, Franky was retired.
The U.S. Supreme court ruled police are not required to extensively document a drug-sniffing dog’s reliability to justify relying on the canine to search a vehicle. The US Supreme Court's ruling was responsible for overturning a Florida Supreme Court decision involving a German shepherd named Aldo. The canine detected drugs in a vehicle, officers then conducted a search and found 200 pseudoephedrine pills and 8,000 matches - both key ingredients for methamphetamine production. The Florida Supreme Court ruled police needed to compile detailed evidence of the dog’s reliability before probable cause was established to search the vehicle.