Illegal Warrantless Searches

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect people from unreasonable warrantless searches, and this week the United States Supreme Court has given bigger teeth to that protection.

Florida v. Jardines

In Florida v. Jardines, after receiving a tip that marijuana was being grown in Mr. Jardines’ home, police went to the home with a drug sniffing dog named Franky.  The police went up onto the porch of the home with Franky the drug sniffing dog, who alerted police to the presence of drugs inside the home.  Only after Franky gave this alert did the police get a warrant to search the inside of the home, where they did in fact find drugs.

The Supreme Court dismissed the charges against Mr. Jardines, deciding that the police had violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches when they invaded the area immediately surrounding his home, known as the “curtilage,” with a trained drug sniffing dog.  The Court recognized in its opinion the supreme protection given to a person’s home, and the fact that such protection would be lost if the police could simply “stand in a home’s porch or side garden and trawl for evidence with impunity ”  Simply put, police can’t just use “a trained police dog to explore the area around the home in hopes of discovering incriminating evidence.”

Beware though, this ruling is very narrow in that it only applies to areas immediately surrounding the home.  The Supreme Court has already decided drug sniffing dogs used with motor vehicle searches are treated differently, and suspects are not given the same protections as when a home is involved.

Carol Mayer is an experienced criminal law attorney who will make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly in the process.  Carol Mayer represents clients in all metropolitan counties and cities including but not limited to Sibley, Carver, Scott, Anoka, Hennepin, Stearns, Blue Earth, LeSueur, Brown, Nicollet, Arlington, Gaylord, McLeod, Chaska, Hutchinson, Mankato, Shakopee, Prior Lake, Belle Plaine, Jordan, and many more throughout Minnesota.