Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Florida v. Jardines

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: January 6, 2012
Case #: 11-564
Supreme Court of Florida, 73 So.3d 34 (2011)
Full Text Opinion: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2011/sc08-2101.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Whether a trained narcotics detection dog's sniff at a suspected grow house's front door is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause.

One month after receiving a Crime Stoppers tip that marijuana was being grown at the defendant's residence, a police detective visited the home and watched it for 15 minutes while waiting for a drug detection dog. The detective noted that the air conditioner never switched off, which is indicative of a marijuana grow operation. When the K-9 officer arrived, he walked his leashed dog up to the home's front door, where the dog alerted to the scent of marijuana. The handler told the detective, who approached the door and also smelled marijuana. The detective prepared an affidavit detailing the Crime Stoppers tip, the drug dog's detection of marijuana and the non-recycling air-conditioner and was granted a search warrant. During the ensuing search, police found a marijuana grow and arrested the defendant.

The trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress and the court of appeals reversed, concluding that no illegal search had occurred. The Florida Supreme Court reversed, reasoning that the analysis used in the federal “dog sniff” cases (U.S. v. Place; Indianapolis v. Edmond; Illinois v. Caballes) was inapplicable to a “sniff test” conducted at a private home due to the "firm line [drawn] at the entrance to the house" (Kyllo v. U.S. quoting Payton v. New York) and holding that a “sniff test” is "a substantial government intrusion into the sanctity of the home and constitutes a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment" that requires an evidentiary showing of probable cause.

The Court granted cert to answer the question whether a trained narcotics detection dog's sniff at a suspected grow house's front door is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause.