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Drug Dog’s Fallibility May Decide Landmark Supreme Court Case | Best Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys

The best Seattle criminal defense attorneys must stay abreast of major changes in the law regarding your case. That is why the Crowley Law Firm practicing in Washington State and with offices in Yakima and Seattle pays close attention to cases like the one before the Supreme Court now: Florida v. Harris.

In many felony drug cases, and especially at the federal level, the dog sniffing dog has become the focal point of the prosecution’s case. In the past, courts have often taken the dog sniff alert at face value. But in the face of the Supreme Court’s review in Florida v. Harris studies about the reliability of the dog sniffing dog and its trainers ability to verify an “alert” have come into question. In previous decisions by the Court, the assumption has been that the dog sniff alert is infallible. Studies are showing this is not the case.

In a post by Radley Balko in the Huffington Post two major studies have shown that given certain circumstances drug alert dogs can be wrong most of the time.  In one particularly interesting study where the researcher attempted to confuse the handlers as to the contents of packages the dog alert dogs were given to sniff an astonishing number of times. In fact “The results were striking. The dogs falsely alerted in 123 of the 144 total searches. Because some dogs falsely alerted more than once in the same search, the total number of false alerts was 225. The dogs correctly completed the search without an alert just 21 times, for a success rate of 14.5 percent.”

As criminal defense lawyers practicing in large and small cities in Washington State including Tacoma, Spokane, Yakima as well as a main office in Seattle, what happens in the Supreme Cpourt can make a major difference to the client. When choosing a Seattle criminal defense attorneys make sure the lawyer you select is on top of current trends in criminal defense and has the experience (in the case of John Crowley the principal of The Crowley Law Firm over 20 years practicing law and in trial) and can develop the best defense for your circumstance.