News in Brief
Justices Reject Rules for Drug-Sniffing Dogs
In a ruling with potential implications for police searches in schools, the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected broad certification requirements for drug-sniffing dogs.
The justices unanimously overturned a decision by Florida's highest court that called for greater evidence of a dog's performance history in the field to support giving the police probable cause to search a vehicle after the dog alerted them to the possible presence of illegal drugs.
Writing for the court in Florida v. Harris (Case No. 11-817), Justice Elena Kagan said a finding of a drug-detection dog's reliability should not depend on a checklist of evidentiary requirements.
A ruling upholding the requirement would have likely limited the use of drug-sniffing dogs by law enforcement, which has grown in recent years to include sweeps of school lockers, parking lots, and even student backpacks.
Vol. 32, Issue 22, Page 4Published in Print: February 27, 2013, as Justices Reject Rules for Drug-Sniffing Dogs