Court OKs Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs 

Court OKs Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs 
Posted by CN Staff on January 24, 2005 at 16:20:29 PT
By Stephen Henderson, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Source: KRT 
Washington -- The Supreme Court gave police broader search powers Monday, saying the Constitution doesn't protect motorists' vehicles from the "nosy" inquiries of drug-sniffing dogs during routine traffic stops.In a 6-2 ruling, the justices sided with Illinois state troopers who used a narcotics-detection dog to sniff around Roy Caballes' trunk after stopping him for speeding. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, sick with thyroid cancer, didn't take part in the case.
It turned out that Caballes was transporting $250,000 in marijuana, which was found after the dog alerted officers to the stash.Caballes said the use of the dog violated his right to privacy, since the officers had no evidence to suggest he was a drug offender before the dog arrived on the scene. It was a traffic stop, he said, and to expand the scope of the stop, the officers needed probable cause. The Illinois Supreme Court had agreed with him and thrown out his conviction.But the justices said Monday that Caballes had no constitutional right to privacy concerning illegal drugs, and because the police dog was trained only to search for contraband narcotics - as opposed to money or any other lawful possession - the officers' action didn't violate constitutional search-and-seizure protections.In short, the court said a sniff wasn't a constitutionally guarded search, so long as it was a sniff for contraband."We have held that any interest in possessing contraband cannot be deemed `legitimate,''' Justice John Paul Stevens wrote. "Accordingly, the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog ... during a lawful traffic stop, generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests."The ruling gives police, who can't search cars themselves without probable cause, an easier way to apprehend drug offenders as a result of routine traffic stops. By simply using dogs, instead of their own powers of observation, they can avoid constitutional rigors.That's what's wrong with the decision, said John Wesley Hall, an Arkansas defense lawyer who helped write a brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers in support of Caballes."All this does is exacerbate the problem of profile stops," Hall said, explaining that police often target people who "look like" drug dealers for traffic stops, hoping to bust them for something bigger. "Now they just need to stop someone who fits their profile, and bring the dog. There are already some places where police departments keep drug dogs in cruisers, or nearby in certain areas. The court just said this is OK."Hall's concerns were echoed in the opinions of the two dissenting justices in Monday's ruling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.Ginsburg said a drug-sniffing dog was an "intimidating animal" and that injecting that animal into routine traffic stops fundamentally changed the encounter. "The stop becomes broader, more adversarial and (at least in some cases) longer," she wrote. The court has said before that police can't simply hold someone who has been stopped for a traffic violation any longer than it takes to write a ticket; any further delay has to be justified by reasonable suspicion.In Caballes' case, Ginsburg wrote, "even if the drug sniff is not characterized as a Fourth Amendment `search,' the sniff surely broadened the scope of the traffic-violation-related seizure."Souter doubted the court's faith in the idea of a dog that will sniff only for drugs, and won't alert officers to other, lawful possessions that can't legally be the subject of a search without cause."The infallible dog ... is a creature of legal fiction," Souter wrote.Complete Title: Court OKs Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs During Routine Traffic Stops Source: KRT (Wire)Author: Stephen Henderson, Knight Ridder NewspapersPublished: January 24, 2005Copyright: 2005 Knight Ridder - Tribune Related Articles: Court OKs Dog Sniff During Traffic Stop Considers When Cops Can Use Canines
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Comment #5 posted by Ron Bennett on January 24, 2005 at 20:20:14 PT
War or Drugs is a War on Our Freedoms ...
This recent ruling illustrates, again, all so well that the war on drugs is truly a war on our freedoms.In short, the court said a sniff wasn't a constitutionally guarded search, so long as it was a sniff for contraband.Virtually anything can be considered "contraband" depending on the context ... the Supreme Court ruling has opened the floodgates - now it appears virtually any technique, including infrared, to search cars, houses, etc is OK, according to the Supreme Court, if the authorities simply claim "it was a search for contraband" ...In a nutshell, if there was any doubt the 4th Amendment has been greatly eroded, there is no more ... the 4th Amendment, along with other numerous other basic human rights, have for the most part been gutted in the U.S.; Constitution has, in many regards, become meaningless.So what's one to do? ... well, for many folks who visit here, keep doing what you have been of course - activism, etc ... however, as some are already doing/done, be prepared to leave the U.S. on short notice if the situation continues to deteriorate - loss of freedom in the U.S., while bad, is still a long way from a crisis situation ... however, as 911 illustrated, freedom can disappear very quickly ... one has to be plan and be ready for the worst - knowing the signs to look out for so they aren't swept up like the victims of the tsunami or caught on the wrong side of the wall as folks were in Berlin; most had much time to leave, but didn't realize the danger until it was too late.Rambled on a bit there, but basically things aren't looking promising - there appears to be no end in sight for the continued erosion of freedom in the U.S. ... I was in Ireland this past Summer - the difference was amazing ... people seem to so freely interact with each other; much less tension - amazed me given the IRA related bombings, etc that have occurred there in the recent past.Anyways, it's very upsetting, though sadly not surprising, given the U.S. Supreme Court has a fairly poor track record when it comes to protecting freedom - the Dred Scott decision in 1857, immediately comes to mind, in which the the court supported slavery ...Ron
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Comment #4 posted by WolfgangWylde on January 24, 2005 at 18:59:49 PT
Thought you'd all get a kick out of this...
... I know I didWeyco fires 4 employees for refusing smoking test
1/24/2005, 2:50 p.m. ET
The Associated Press LANSING, Mich. (AP)  Four employees of Okemos-based health benefits administrator Weyco Inc. have been fired for refusing to take a test that would determine whether they smoke cigarettes. The company instituted a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it a firing offense to smoke  even if done after business hours or at home, the Lansing State Journal reported Monday. Weyco founder Howard Weyers said previously that he instituted the tough anti-smoking rule to shield his company from high health care costs. "I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said. The anti-smoking rule led one employee to quit work before the policy went into place. Since Jan. 1, four more people were shown the door when they balked at the anti-smoking test. "They were terminated at that point," said Chief Financial Officer Gary Climes. Even so, Weyco said, the policy has been successful. Climes estimated that about 18 to 20 of the company's 200 employers were smokers when the policy was announced in 2003. Of those, as many as 14 quit smoking before the policy went into place. Weyco offered them smoking cessation help, Climes said. "That is absolutely a victory," Climes said.
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on January 24, 2005 at 18:00:10 PT
In Caballes' case, Ginsburg wrote, "even if the drug sniff is not characterized as a Fourth Amendment `search,' the sniff surely broadened the scope of the traffic-violation-related seizure."A "sniff" IS a "search"!!!By the time we see martial law we won't notice that anything has changed. The incremental dismantling of The Constitution leaves it as being nothing but paper. The U.S. is now supposed to spread freedom to the rest of the world? I don't think we have any "freedom" to spare. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Hey Ruppert: 9/11 is NOT Dead! - No Longer 'LIVE':'s Time To Ignore Michael Ruppert: Problem With Mike Ruppert: More About Skull & Bones Secret societies? UFOs? The truth about what *really* happened on 9/11? The media cowers Role Of The U.S. Government On 9/11: Was an Inside Job - A Call to All True Patriots:
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on January 24, 2005 at 16:51:12 PT
Freedom breaking in the name of keeping us safely in fear, using terrorism, is an American nightmare by the right.The constitution did protect us, but now these guys use it as toilet paper. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 24, 2005 at 16:27:35 PT
Related Article from
Drug-Sniffing Dogs Allowed: Supreme Court Overview
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