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Supreme Court Hears Case of Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

police dog and officerThe Supreme Court will soon judge the smelling powers of drug-sniffing dogs. Are the dogs’ noses a fool-proof way to find contraband, or are their findings so inaccurate that they violate people’s right to privacy? In 2005, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that drug-sniffing dogs did not violate someone’s right to privacy because the dogs’ noses revealed “no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess.”

However, Clayton Harris, who was stopped and searched because of a false alert from a drug-sniffing dog, is arguing that the dog’s noses are too inaccurate to make Stevens’ statement correct. According to a recent Chicago Tribune analysis, alerts from drug-sniffing dogs led to drugs or paraphernalia only 44 percent of the time, and only 27 percent of the time for Hispanic drivers. A brief filed in the case argued that dogs smell not the drugs themselves but molecules that are also present in legal substances like snapdragons, petunias, vinegar and old aspirin. The Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that the evidence in Harris’ case should be suppressed, and the United States Supreme Court will hear the case on Wednesday.

Source: New York Times Question for Justices: Do Aldo and Franky’s Noses Always Know?

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1 Comment

  • Unreasonable laws not unreasonable use of dogs

    The first part of the Fourth Amendment reads “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated:”

    In the US Supreme Court, lawyers are questioned the methods of the search by police using dogs. These lawyers are not questioning the reasonableness of the marijuana laws that authorizes the police to search and seize for marijuana. I tried 11-1354.

    Being arrested or summoned to court is seizure of person, deprivation of liberty. Seizing marijuana is deprivation of property. A search warrant is an invasion of privacy. Marijuana laws present a fundamental rights issue. Due process of law requires the use of police power is reasonable or unreasonable.

    Marijuana is not a fundamental right and the laws are rational use of police power declared the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in State of Maine v Dee 2012 ME 26. This means marijuana users are not persons and don’t a have a fundamental right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable searches and seizure, from unreasonable laws.

    Rational use of police power is a police state action.