The U.S. Supreme Court could decide this month whether to take up a case that would decide whether police officers can obtain a search warrant for illegal drugs based on a drug-sniffing dog that picks up a scent outside of a house.
The Associated Press reports that the case centers on Franky, a drug-sniffing dog in Florida. Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that the dog’s ability to detect marijuana growing inside a home in Miami by sniffing outside the house was unconstitutional. The state’s attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.
“Dogs can be a police officer’s best friend because they detect everything from marijuana or meth labs to explosives,” Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney in Miami who is now in private practice, told the AP.
Franky, a chocolate Labrador who recently retired after seven years with the Miami-Dade Police Department, is responsible for the seizure of more than 2.5 tons of marijuana and $4.9 million in drug-contaminated money, the article notes.
According to the AP, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved the use of drug-sniffing dogs in several other major cases. Two cases involved dogs that smelled drugs during routine traffic stops, while a third involved a dog that detected drugs in airport luggage. A fourth case involved a package containing drugs that was in transit.
Unlike those cases, the Florida case involves a private home. The Supreme Court has ruled in previous cases that homes are entitled to more privacy than traveling cars or suitcases in airports.