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November 2003
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Illinois limits use of drug-sniffing dogs

Chicago Tribune: Court bars drug-dog use in traffic stops: ‘Hunch’ doesn’t validate search

a contentious 4-3 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police cannot use drug-detection dogs to sniff vehicles during routine traffic stops.
Before police summon a dog, they must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is carrying drugs, not merely a “vague hunch,” Justice Thomas Kilbride wrote for the majority.
State police “are going to have to state a reason why they called in the dogs,” said criminal defense attorney Ralph Meczyk, whose client, Roy Caballes, had been convicted of drug trafficking. “Everyone’s liberties are affected,” Meczyk said.
The ruling, which said the drugs could not be used as evidence against Caballes, also overturned his conviction.
Though Caballes’ defense focused only on the legality of the search, opponents of racial profiling are claiming it as a victory, as well. It will curtail some powers of police who, they said, single out black and Hispanic motorists for drug investigations.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens if this gets appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has considered dog sniffing not a search in past rulings.

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