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Hi all! I'm doing a "scholarly" article about a recent Supreme Court case and was wondering what you guys think of it...

In the case, a driver was pulled over for going 6 miles over the speed limit. When the officer radioed dispatch to tell them he pulled someone over, another officer from the narcotics team heard it and told the dispatcher he was going over to the scene with his drug sniffing dog, even though the other officer did not request his assistance.

When the drug officer got there, he circled the car with his dog and the dog alerted. The other officer was still writing the ticket. There was, in fact, drugs in the car.

The Supreme Court decided that this was ok and the evidence was admissible because in an earlier case, they decided that a dog sniff was NOT a search.

This has huge implications for the rest of us who do not have drugs and other contraband. Because these dogs are not perfect, there have been many documented cases where the dogs falsely alert and a full-blown search ensues. This case also allows officers to pull us over for the most minor thing just so that they can bring the dog in to sniff around your car. They don't need probable cause, a warrant, or even justifiable suspicion. They don't even need a hunch anymore... they can do it just cuz they feel like it.

So, I want to know how this makes the rest of you feel. I mean, how many people have been pulled over by an officer? And if you have, how would you have felt if you were subjected to the dog sniff when you don't have drugs and the officer has no reason to think that you do. This really does affect all of us and I think most people don't know about this case. (well, it was just decided last month)

So any thought would be great. It would *really* help me expand on my ideas in the paper. Thanks!!!


 
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GOOD SUBJECT BTW!


Oh this is a simple one and seems so obvious to me. If a dog can search and sniff your car without any search warrant and you have nothing to hide, then what might one be worried about? The only thing I can see myself being worried about is if I am late to be somewhere or something. But other than that, who gives a rats ass if you are searched when you are innocent and have NOTHING to hide in your car or on your person? If you have nothing to worry about, then plain and simply, you have nothing to worry about!

OK, now, let's take another look now. Let's say that a dog sniffs w/o a warrant(just like above). The dog ALERTS the COPS that there are drugs or something in the car. The police search you and your car and find ZILCH! Then, still, what is the worry? They cannot arrest you for the dog sniffing something that isn't there.

If you are carrying drugs and/contraband then you are already breaking the law and need to be punished. I personally would RATHER be searched, than having the COPS walking on eggshells when there is a REAL dangerous person w/ drugs, etc in their cars that need to be caught.

This actually comes down to the "so called" civil right issues that are happening at airports all over cuz of 911. I fly ALL the time and I personally have seen people acting "PUT OUT" cuz they are being told that they are to be searched prior to boarding a plane. It's ridiculous! Face it, take the time to be searched, what's the big deal people! GET OVER IT!





Originally Posted by wongy74

Hi all! I'm doing a "scholarly" article about a recent Supreme Court case and was wondering what you guys think of it...
In the case, a driver was pulled over for going 6 miles over the speed limit. When the officer radioed dispatch to tell them he pulled someone over, another officer from the narcotics team heard it and told the dispatcher he was going over to the scene with his drug sniffing dog, even though the other officer did not request his assistance.

When the drug officer got there, he circled the car with his dog and the dog alerted. The other officer was still writing the ticket. There was, in fact, drugs in the car.

The Supreme Court decided that this was ok and the evidence was admissible because in an earlier case, they decided that a dog sniff was NOT a search.

This has huge implications for the rest of us who do not have drugs and other contraband. Because these dogs are not perfect, there have been many documented cases where the dogs falsely alert and a full-blown search ensues. This case also allows officers to pull us over for the most minor thing just so that they can bring the dog in to sniff around your car. They don't need probable cause, a warrant, or even justifiable suspicion. They don't even need a hunch anymore... they can do it just cuz they feel like it.

So, I want to know how this makes the rest of you feel. I mean, how many people have been pulled over by an officer? And if you have, how would you have felt if you were subjected to the dog sniff when you don't have drugs and the officer has no reason to think that you do. This really does affect all of us and I think most people don't know about this case. (well, it was just decided last month)

So any thought would be great. It would *really* help me expand on my ideas in the paper. Thanks!!!






 
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First off, thanks for answering to this mundane topic!


I completely agree with the fact that searches in airports are necessary and people should just get over it already. However, the sniffs in the airports nowadays are mainly by bomb-detection type dogs. There is a distinction between general crime control interests and more immediate threats to public safety. Obviously, I would totally advocate bomb detection type dog sniffs in airports, as they are necessary to public safety.

I also see where you are coming from- if you're innocent, why do you care, right? But when I see things like this, I see it from a policy standpoint, a constitutional standpoint, and a legal standpoint- which is too long to get into. Personally, I wouldn't want officers to have the discretion to have a dog sniff around my car just because they can do it. Especially in a community such as Hawaii, where you invariably run into someone you know all the time, I would be embarassed if I got pulled over and someone saw me. I would be even more embarassed if that someone saw that a dog was walking around my car, implying that I am a druggie. Now, I would care, even though I know I'm innocent and they won't find anything, because then I would have explain to everyone what that was all about. And most people wouldn't believe me anyway just cause they're that kind of people- whatever keeps the gossip mill churning kind of people.

Moreover, there have been many documented cases where a officer could not control his dog- dogs have scratched cars, jumped into cars, etc.

Oh, and here's some food for thought... apparently, (this is documented in court cases) about 80% of our currency is tainted with drug residue. A dog's sense of smell is unbelievably good- it could smell that lil bit of residue, possibly subjecting you and your car to a full-blown search. Now, it doesn't sound like much, but what if they started ripping off the panels on the inside of the car door or anything else destructive like that? They can... and even if they pay for it after, who is, by now, very inconvenienced?

So, now you know what side of the fence I am on. I can see where you're coming from though and I can respect your opinion.

Originally Posted by Tony(admin) GOOD SUBJECT BTW!

Oh this is a simple one and seems so obvious to me. If a dog can search and sniff your car without any search warrant and you have nothing to hide, then what might one be worried about? The only thing I can see myself being worried about is if I am late to be somewhere or something. But other than that, who gives a rats ass if you are searched when you are innocent and have NOTHING to hide in your car or on your person? If you have nothing to worry about, then plain and simply, you have nothing to worry about!

OK, now, let's take another look now. Let's say that a dog sniffs w/o a warrant(just like above). The dog ALERTS the COPS that there are drugs or something in the car. The police search you and your car and find ZILCH! Then, still, what is the worry? They cannot arrest you for the dog sniffing something that isn't there.

If you are carrying drugs and/contraband then you are already breaking the law and need to be punished. I personally would RATHER be searched, than having the COPS walking on eggshells when there is a REAL dangerous person w/ drugs, etc in their cars that need to be caught.

This actually comes down to the "so called" civil right issues that are happening at airports all over cuz of 911. I fly ALL the time and I personally have seen people acting "PUT OUT" cuz they are being told that they are to be searched prior to boarding a plane. It's ridiculous! Face it, take the time to be searched, what's the big deal people! GET OVER IT!

 
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You would be surprised what police officers would do to make a bust. While they may enjoy getting donuts and coffee, it is their career and they are trying to get promoted and get ahead. There are officers who devote the whole of their time to stop cars under the pretext of minor traffic infractions in order to do drug investigations.

And also, I don't agree with you "damned if they do" statement. The only time I hear any criticism of police action in within the legal community. Mostly, the voices are of people like you who feel that police should have full discretion to do what they see fit. However, when the abuse is completely obvious, the press gets a hold of it and criticizes them for it. And rightfully so.

Judges have pointed out that a dog sniff amounts to a public accusation of a crime. Doing the sniff indicates what the officer thinks you have done wrong. Now, while this is ok, no matter, how much embarassment, if the officer has reasonable suspicions that you possess drugs (bombs and other weapons are an entirely different matter), then he is justified in doing a sniff, search, whatever. The concern with the case I spoke about is that random sniffs and searches WILL occur under this decision, which the Fourth Amendment was meant to protect us from- arbitrary searches and seizures.

Even if you completely disagree with me still, if you are an American, you should value your constitutional rights- and not just those about the right to possess a gun! If you value one, you must value all or risk losing them all. Trust me, if you look at court decisions, once one constitutional right is "injured," they keep doing it- again and again. Until the right means nothing, as in this case.

And even if you're a person who thinks, who cares, I've done nothing wrong- that's exactly the point. Take it to the nth degree for a bigger view of the picture- you're accused of a crime and on trial for it but you're really innocent. Your constitutional rights will matter to you then.

 
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I agree with your answer Tony... if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you should have no cause for concern! But I really doubt this will happen often without the officer having some kind of suspicion that you are on drugs or something. I don't think they would put in all that effort just for a "do you know your taillight is out?" pull-over. Maybe if they think you might be on something, or that you seem wierd or hiding something.
 

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