Posted Jan 09, 2012 02:34 pm CST
Do police need probable cause before they use a drug-sniffing dog outside the home of a suspected marijuana operation?
The issue arises in one of two cases that got the Supreme Court’s attention on Friday, SCOTUSblog reports. The state of Florida argues there is no need for probable cause the sniff by Franky, a now-retired drug-sniffing dog, is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the case will be “the third in a trilogy of rulings on drug-sniffing dogs.” The court has upheld drug dog sniffs in searches involving traffic stops and airport luggage because they occurred in public areas. According to the Florida Supreme Court ruling in the new case, police had used Franky outside a home, where the Fourth Amendment “applies with extra force.”
Franky and officers had arrived at the home of Joelis Jardines in December 2006. 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. The case is Florida v. Jardines.
The court also granted cert in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter, SCOTUSblog says. The issue is whether the federal government is obligated to pay tribes that contract with the Interior Department to run tribal programs the full amount promised, despite a cap imposed by Congress.