According to the The Washington Post, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of a drug dog's sniff of private residence as it pertains to the 4th Amendment, which protects Americans from unlawful search and seizure. The case in question was originally tried in 2006, where it was thrown out by a trial judge after agreeing that the dog's sniff was an unconstitutional law enforcement intrusion into the private residence. Although an appeals court reversed the decision, the Florida Supreme Court sided with the original judgment.
The 2006 case was based on the work of a now-retired chocolate Labrador drug dog named Franky. On December 5, 2006, Miami-Dade detectives, as well as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, conducted surveillance outside a private residence after receiving an anonymous tip that the house may be the base of a marijuana growing operation. When Franky arrived at the home with his handler, he immediately detected the odor of marijuana at the front door and sat down, confirming the sniff. That sniff successfully got a search warrant, which led to the seizure of 179 live marijuana plants from the house.
Though Franky's nose was right, the defense attorney successfully argued that his sniff constituted an illegal search and a 4th Amendment rights violation, as private residences are entitled to a higher level of privacy. Although the U.S. Supreme court has already ruled drug dog sniffs as constitutional in searches conducted in public places and even vehicles, the question now is whether private residences, which are entitled to greater privacy, require a heightened level of review when it comes to 4th Amendment rights and the actions of a drug dog. The Supreme Court is expected to hear argument in April and issue their decision in June.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Florida, the aggressive Miami-Dade County drug crime attorneys at Musca Law can build a strong defense on your behalf and ensure the protection of your constitutional rights. To learn more, contact us today at (888) 484-5057 for a confidential consultation.