Drug Dogs & Houses

The case of Florida v. Jardines was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012., along with a another case, Florida v. Harris, involving drug-sniffing dogs.  The Jardines cases involves the use of these dogs at a home. The issue in this case basically involves whether bringing a dog to the door of home amounts to a search and if it is a search, must the police first obtain a warrant.

FACTS: On November 3, 2006, an anonymous, unverified tip was given to the Miami-Dade Police Department through its “crime stoppers” tip-line, indicating that the residence of Joelis Jardines was being used as a marijuana grow house. About a month later, on December 6, 2006, two detectives and a drug-detection dog approached the residence, while other officers of the Miami-Dade Police Department established perimeter positions around the residence, with agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in stand-by positions as backup units. There were no vehicles in the driveway, the blinds were closed, and there was no observable activity. The police brought a drug-detection dog up to the front door of the home, and the dog alerted to the scent of contraband. This information was used to obtain a search warrant, which eventually was acted upon and resulted in drugs being found on the premisis.

ISSUE: Whether a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause?

  • Both the majority and dissenting opinion, as well as a short concurrence

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