Decided by a Nose? Court Ponders Drug Dog Sniff
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Franky the drug dog's nose is at the heart of a question being put to the U.S. Supreme Court: Does a police K-9's sniff outside a house give officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs, or is the sniff an unconstitutional search? (Jan. 4)

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[Location: MIAMI, Florida, USA][VO: various of K9 dog]FRANKY WAS A DRUG-SNIFFING SUPERSTAR FOR MIAMI-DADE POLICE, BUT IT'S A ROUTINE SNIFF FROM A MARIJUANA GROW HOUSE FIVE YEARS AGO THAT COULD MAKE HIM THE SUBJECT OF A [VO: file of Supreme Court building][LOCATION: HOMESTEAD, Florida, USA][VO: externals of house]IT STARTED HERE -- AT THIS HOUSE IN HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA -- WHERE DETECTIVE DOUGLAS BARTLETT BROUGHT FRANKY TO THE ARCHWAY. THE DOG ALERTED -- AND OFFICERS DISCOVERED A MARIJUANA GROW HOUSE INSIDEBUT THEN THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RULED THE SEARCH UNCONSTITUTIONAL -- SAYING THAT POLICE CAN'T BRING A DRUG DOG TO THE DOOR OF A PRIVATE HOME. FLORIDA PROSECUTORS ARE CHALLENGING THAT RULING -- SAYING ESSENTIALLY THAT A DOG SNIFF IS NOT A SEARCH. [SOT: Thomas Goldstein /Supreme Court expert]"The justices only hear one out of every hundred cases that's presented to them. I think this case is very likely to be reviewed.' [VO: FILE OF DEA RAID ON GROWHOUSE /MAY, 2008]FLORIDA PROSECUTORS WORRY THAT IF THE SUPREME COURT DOESN'T TAKE THE CASE -- IT WILL MAKE IT HARDER TO DETECT ILLEGAL INDOOR MARIJUANA GROW HOUSES -- A CONTINUING PROBLEM IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND ELSEWHERE[SOT: Kendall Coffey /fmr U.S. Atty] "The Supreme Court of Florida has drawn a line in front of the home, emphasizing our traditions that respect the sanctity of the home. But from a law enforcement perspective, if they're not able to use dogs, to in effect, in a relatively unobtrusive way, stand out, sniff, alert contraband, that would be a big handicap." THE SUPREME COURT HAS SAID THERMAL SENSORS USED TO DETECT HEAT LAMPS ARE A VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT'S PROTECTION AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. BUT IS A DOG'S NOSE DIFFERENT? [SOT: Coffey]"The assumption is that all they will alert to is illegal activity. However, dogs are not infallible. Dogs are 'only human,' you might say, in the sense that they're human-trained, and human handled." [SOT: Goldstein]"I think the justices are likely to think of a drug sniffing dog as kind of, basically, a dog. It's not a dog that's had surgery to have some implant put into its brain."[VO: cutaway of dog sniffing dog][SOT:goldstein]"in general, the justices are of the view that what you keep private, well, that's private. But what you let out into the world -- smells, sounds, information about yourself -- well, then that's public. And the government doesn't need a warrant to discover something that's public." [VO: DRUG SNIFFING DOGS]THE CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST THE MAN AT THE CENTER OF THE CASE, [VO: JAIL MUGHSOT OF JOELIS JARDINES /MIAMI-DADE CORRECTIONS DEPT.]JOELIS JARDINES, REMAINS ON HOLD UNTIL THE SUPREME COURT DECIDES WHETHER TO TAKE THE CASE -- OR LET THE FLORIDA RULING STAND. TONY WINTON, ASSOCIATED PRESS, MIAMI-