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U.S. Supreme Court

Franky the Drug-Detecting Dog Is Subject of Fourth Amendment Cert Petition

Posted Jan 4, 2012 10:50 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court could decide as early as this month whether to accept a case that asks whether a sniff by Franky the drug-detecting dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause.

Many court watchers expect the court to accept the case, Florida v. Jardines, the Associated Press reports. The Supreme Court has approved drug dog sniffs in searches involving traffic stops, airport luggage and a package containing drugs. But the case involving Franky and homeowner Joelis Jardines involves drug detention at a private home.

Franky and officers arrived at the home in December 2006 after getting a tip, AP says. The dog alerted outside the front door, indicating he smelled drugs. Police used the information to obtain a warrant and found 179 pot plants inside.

SCOTUSblog has posted the cert petition (PDF). The blog’s founder, Tom Goldstein, told AP the Florida Supreme Court adopted a broad reading of the Fourth Amendment in the case, and it’s likely to get the Supreme Court’s attention. The court had ruled the dog’s sniff was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

The story describes Franky as “an amiable chocolate Labrador” who has since retired from the Miami-Dade Police Department.

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