The Michigan Court of appeals apparently doesn’t really understand the Constitution.
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling released Wednesday, said police may use dogs to sniff outside a house for drugs without a search warrant. A Wayne County judge had suppressed evidence and dismissed marijuana charges against Detroiter Jeffrey Jones — who had been convicted of previous drug charges — because Jones argued the sniffing was an illegal search. The majority on the appeals panel agreed with prosecutors that police, acting on a tip, may use a trained dog to sniff the front door, and use that information to get a warrant to search inside the house.
This is the inevitable result of the Supremely bad decision in Illinois v. Caballes that allowed dog sniffs to justify searches in traffic stops that were otherwise lacking in suspicion.
Now it’s your homes.
We are ceding the decision-making regarding time-honored 4th Amendment protection of the home to an animal — and one that is much more pathetically eager to please than it is smart.*
Want to search someone’s house? Don’t worry about probable cause. Just bring your dog to sniff the front door. If the dog you’ve trained acts the way you want him to, then that will be all you need to get a warrant to search someone’s home. And if what you subsequently find is odorless and clear at the other end of the house, it won’t matter, because once you have the warrant, you’ll no longer have to justify whether the dog actually smelled anything.