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Throwing the Fourth Amendment to the dogs

May 01, 2007 Throwing the Fourth Amendment to the dogs

The Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

This entry continues from my blog entries about searches and seizures from April 24 through 27. In 2005, the Supreme Court decided that: "A dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment." Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 410 (2005).

Unfortunately, Caballes gives police an incentive to exaggerate and prevaricate (1) about the extent to which they have detained a defendant for an unreasonably long period of time to await the arrival of a drug dog, (2) about the qualifications of particular drug dogs (for instance, the extent to which the dogs have previously alerted falsely for drugs), and (3) about drug dog behavior that may have been coached or otherwise unreliable. Jon Katz.

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