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Supreme Court To Hear Dog Sniff Cases

Supreme Court To Hear Dog Sniff Cases Which May Impact Cases At The Crowley Law Firm PLLC

In news which affects cases currently represented by The Crowley Law Firm PLLC, the Supreme has decided to take two different “dog-sniff” cases in the current term. Both cases are from Florida where the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that police “dog-sniff” procedures are in violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against illegal search and seizure.

John Crowley of the firm has extensive experience in defending “dog-sniff” alert cases and recently defended in the federal Court in the Eastern District of Washington. In addition and because of the results of that federal case, he was recently hired to defend a similar “dog sniff” case in the State of Oregon.  The results of these upcoming cases may have a major impact on current and former clients charged or convicted based on the use of drug-sniffing dogs and in the procedures law enforcement agencies have been employing when using te dogs.

In the first case, Florida v. Harris (you can find the Florida Supreme Court decision, briefs for and against and Amicus briefs here) the issue is whether an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband is sufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle. In that case, the dog alerted to drugs which may have been in the vehicle at one time, but may not have been present during the actual arrest- stop.

In the second case, Florida v. Jardines (documents, briefs and other case files are available here) further clarification is requested of the Court regarding whether probable cause is required prior to implementing the use of a drug-sniff dog. In both of these cases the Florida Supreme Court ruled for the defendants and the appeals are being brought by the Attorney General of the State of Florida.

The dog sniff cases will address the Fourth Amendment protections afforded to the accused under the Constitution as they relate to police use of dogs to find drugs. The protocols used by law enforcement and the accuracy of canine drug-sniff “alerts” will also be called into question. The Crowley Law Firm PLLC is eagerly awaiting the rulings and will continue to stay abreast of how these timely decisions will impact their clients.

John Crowley is currently defending in two cases which may be impacted by these rulings.  Both have similar factual scenarios.  Both individuals were travelling on interstate highways when they were stopped for traffic infractions. Both had valid driver’s licenses and insurance.  After the processing for the traffic stops they were asked for permission to search their vehicle by canines (coincidentally, both of these individuals were racial minorities). In the first case, other factors supposedly provided suspicion to the state patrolman justifying the stop.  In the second case, there were no other suspicious factors present (other than the coincidental racial minority status).

You can read more about that case here in The Crowley Law News.