WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While considering whether a police dog should be allowed to sniff outside a home for illegal drugs inside, some U.S. Supreme Court justices smelled a rat.
At their Wednesday session, justices from across the ideological spectrum signalled that the privacy interest of a person in his home was too great to give police a broad license to let trained canines sniff around a home for evidence they could not see.
But in a second case involving a sniffer dog, some of the justices indicated they were hesitant to set too high a bar on police to show that their dogs are reliable.
The nine-member court has often allowed dog searches, including of luggage at airports and cars at checkpoints.
On Wednesday it addressed Florida’s appeals of two decisions by the state’s highest court that found the detection of drugs by trained police dogs violated the ban on unreasonable searches and seizures under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
The first case focused on the location of the search, on the doorstep of a home, while the second was focused on whether the dog in question was sufficiently reliable.”