Supreme Court hears two drug dog cases

Oct. 31, 2012 at 8:08 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Two Florida cases before the U.S. Supreme Court are questioning law enforcement's use of man's best friend to sniff out drugs.

Florida vs. Jardines and Florida vs. Harris present an aggressive challenge to the notion that a dog's alert to the presence of drugs is enough to legally justify a search of someone's home or vehicle, The Washington Post reported.

Oral arguments in the two drug dog cases were on the court's docket for Wednesday.

Jardines asks whether it was constitutional for Miami-Dade County police, acting on a tip, to bring Franky the chocolate Lab to Joelis Jardine's front door.

As a result of Franky's "alert," police obtained a search warrant and Jardines was arrested on suspicion of turning his home into a marijuana "grow house."

Harris questions whether judges should scrutinize a dog's qualifications and cites research showing a high rate of false alerts and manipulation by a dog's handler.

The state of Florida, backed by the Obama administration, said professional training of the dogs and certification should be enough for the courts.

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