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View Diary: Supreme Court likes dogs who are good at meth (235 comments)

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  •  Speak for yourself (9+ / 0-)
    It isn't that a drug selling crackhead gets his rights stepped on we are 'concerned about'.
    Personally, I'm "concerned about" any violation of civil rights, any time.

    Is a "crackhead drug seller" not a citizen?

    •  yay you. (0+ / 0-)

      I am speaking we as a society, not you or me.

      Society likes it when drug sellers are arrested, read a local paper or blog's comment section.
      Addicted persons commit lots of property crimes. People seem to find that annoying.

      We as a society support the war on drugs. There's big money it. There is no real large scale momentum to fix it evident, despite wa and co victories for mj possession


      why are you thinking he wasn't a citizen?

          he got to the supreme court.

       some defendants and some drug sellers are immigrants.


      to the diary's point, and the commenter I replied to, what about the ubiquitous airport and border dogs...duh, obviously different than a traffic stop, but how can that search be a whole lot different on principle? That I stopped voluntarily?
        I can't object, really. I can't prevent it..well, the bear spray might work for a moment...


      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:12:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Border searches are of a different sort (7+ / 0-)

        and do not get the full protection of the 4th amendment.  I don't fully understand why, but the supreme ct. has ruled that a person entering the country does not receive the full protection of the 4th.  Drug dog or no drug dog.  

        More to the point of this case - a dog sniff is not considered a search by the courts.  So technically the police can run around with drug sniffing dogs anywhere they want.  The question in this case is whether a positive dog sniff, without anything else, gives enough probable cause to conduct a search.  The court ruled that it did.  What makes the case "interesting" is that the drug sniffs were false.  The drug did not alert to any chemical it was trained to detect.  

        Of course the dog sniffs won't be just used against drug dealers.  Societies attitudes toward the civil rights of drug users (the one you demonstrated here) is why the 4th amendment has lost all its teeth.

        •  Well, we don't know that ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, mungley, Sychotic1

          ... there's an argument (which the Court seems to accept) that Aldo legitimately smelled meth residue from the guy's hand on the door handle, even through there was no meth present at the time.

          •  But doesn't that hurt the Court's rationale? (5+ / 0-)

            To make a search, don't you need probable cause that you'll find evidence of a present crime?  If a dog is alerting to someone handling or using meth hours earlier, or to another possible passenger or user of the car, doesn't that make it less likely the search will uncover an actual crime and make it less likely that any one positive dog sniff would lead to an arrest?

            If Aldo's capable of smelling meth residue from a week prior on the truck and will alert if he does so, doesn't that dilute the probable cause rationale?  

            This comes up frequently because there are trace amounts of cocaine on a lot of American money and drug dogs will often alert to large bills.  KenBee's own prior example of a marijuana smoking hitch-hiker would work as well.  So Aldo is casting a much wider net than normally would be the basis, in any other circumstance, for probable cause.

            •  That's an excellent point. (6+ / 0-)

              If the dog yields too many false positives, then it's not credible.  I guess that's a question which individual defense attorneys will have to ask at future suppression hearings as to the dog's credibility.

              •  Do you think that courts are going to start (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                allowing the defense to test dog credibility?

                "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                by Old Left Good Left on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:13:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. It happened here, after all. (0+ / 0-)

                  The whole point of this case is to establish the test by which the dog's credibility is assessed.  Justice Kagan writes:

                  A defendant, however, must have an opportunity to challenge such evidence of a dog’s reliability, whether by cross-examining the testifying officer or by introducing his own fact or expert witnesses. The defendant, for example, may contest the adequacy of a certification or training program, perhaps asserting that its standards are too lax or its methods faulty. So too, the defendant may examine how the dog (or handler) performed in the assessments made in those settings. Indeed, evidence of the dog’s (or handler’s) history in the field, although susceptible to the kind of misinterpretation we have discussed, may sometimes be relevant, as the Solicitor General acknowledged at oral argument. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 23–24 (“[T]he defendant can ask the handler, if the handler is on the stand, about field performance, and then the court can give that answer whatever weight is appropriate”). And even assuming a dog is generally reliable, circumstances surrounding a particular alert may undermine the case for probable cause—if, say, the officer cued the dog (consciously or not), or if the team was working under unfamiliar conditions.

                  In short, a probable-cause hearing focusing on a dog’s alert should proceed much like any other. The court should allow the parties to make their best case, consistent with the usual rules of criminal procedure. And the court should then evaluate the proffered evidence to decide what all the circumstances demonstrate. If the State has produced proof from controlled settings that a dog performs reliably in detecting drugs, and the defendant has not contested that showing, then the court should find probable cause. If, in contrast, the defendant has challenged the State’s case (by disputing the reliability of the dog overall or of a particular alert), then the court should weigh the competing evidence. In all events, the court should not prescribe, as the Florida Supreme Court did, an inflexible set of evidentiary requirements. The question—similar to every inquiry into probable cause—is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime. A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test.

            • (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adam B, KenBee, mungley, Sychotic1, Janet 707

              The existence of meth residue is undeniably probable cause for a search, though.  There's no distinction between a "present crime" and a crime committed in the past.  Let me give you an example...if X murders a victim and buries their body in the woods, but leaves a bloody item of clothing in their car, no one would argue that a sniff for the victim's blood somehow wasn't evidence of a "present crime" because the victim was murdered hours or days before.  

              •  twice recently there have been sheriff's who (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mungley, happymisanthropy

                traffic stopped because they themselves smelled the strong odor of MJ (it was harvest time in norcal) as they passed going the opposite direction.

                Subsequent stops revealed massive quantites of mj and they keep, sometimes. oft times plead the case down...but keep the cash.
                    In one car the pot was in clear turkey baster bags ( said to reduce the smell for drug dogs 4 leggs, yet they piled it uncovered in the back seat...duh.

                So a deputy dog's nose, a two legged dog was enough to stop, search arrest. No follow up as usual in the local rag.

                Not really germaine to the case unless a lawyer ramps it up and challenges the initial traffic stop based on his smeller.

                This machine kills Fascists.

                by KenBee on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:00:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  "At least every few days." (0+ / 0-)

              I've heard that when you do meth it really sucks because all you can think about is how to get more meth.

              Anyway, the suspect admitted to cooking it 2 weeks prior, but also used it every few days.

              I wonder if there was anyone to corroborate the claim that it was two weeks ago, and there is no saying when the suspect last used meth.

               There is a strong chance that the dog was responding to fresh residue.

              We also presume that all of the accoutrements the suspect was using were clean and free of the smell of meth.

              A challenge to a dog's drug detection skills is certainly a valid avenue.  That could invalidate all canine testimony. It looks like the court accepted standing rationale that dogs do detect drugs though.

              The question is, "was the search lawful?" The officer had every reason to believe it was lawful, because the dog gave a positive result.

              So, now it comes down to, "can the dog's perceived error be discounted due to the circumstances?"

              I don't think it would be unlawful to search someone who had so much trace cocaine residue on the cash he was carrying that a dog reacted to it. Provided the right circumstances it would make sense to conduct that search.

              Take back the House in 2014!!!! ( 50-state strategy needed)

              by mungley on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:35:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  it is impossible to know if Aldo sniffed residue (0+ / 0-)

            on a door handle or not. His response could have been to that or it could have been to a cop's cue to produce the response.

        •  Borders are very murky places (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in regards to constitutional rights.

          These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

          by HugoDog on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:40:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Many constitutional rights (2+ / 0-)

      1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 14th, etc, etc., are not dependent on citizenship, or even immigration status. See Plyler v. Doe

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

      by HugoDog on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:39:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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