Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Franky's Nose and the Supremes

Okay, one of the current issue before SCOTUS is whether a police dog's sniff outside a house give police officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs, or does the sniff constitute an unconstitutional search?

Florida's highest state court has said Franky, the police dog in question, may have an ability to detect marijuana growing inside a Miami-area house from outside a closed front door.  However, in doing so, the pooch has crossed the constitutional line. Florida's Attorney General wants the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court could decide this month whether to take the case, the latest dispute about whether the use of dogs to find drugs, explosives and other illegal or dangerous substances violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure.  In general, the possible outcomes involve more than a few kids using weed.

My thoughts are these: the odorant that the dog can detect is hardly confinable to the person's domicile.  In other words, whatever marijuana odors may be emitted by the substance in question, they are not confinable solely to within the house.  Therefore, whether the police officer smells the marijuana itself, or has his canine boon companion sniff it out, it's not an "unconstitutional search."  This is very similar to the contents of garbage cans not subject to Constitutional protection from unnecessary seizures.  In general, if you throw it out, it's anyone's business who chooses to make it so.

Some little anecdotes:  While I was living in Florence, some of the neighboring kids were using weed, they would sit on the porch, and pass the joint back and forth, and giggle.  I wasn't particularly curious, but I could easily tell that they were using pot.

And, one time while passing through Haleyville, my daughter noticed that some free enterpriser was dealing in the parking lot of a fast-food establishment.  I confirmed her acute observation.

In general, people who do these petty drug offenses are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.


  1. How did you confirm her observation, Duckbutt? And what was he selling?

  2. Pot should be made legal so the potheads can pay taxes like everyone else.

  3. HH -- They came in baggies; ergo, pot.