Regular readers have heard me rail against Caballes v. Illinois, the truly awful Supreme Court decision that allowed searches based only on the whim of a dog, thereby encouraging fishing expeditions.
Supreme Court of Canada Saskatchewan Court of Appeal just ruled on a similar case. Seven members of the Court sat on the case and all agreed that the case should be thrown out. Since the officer had no reasonable suspicion that the car contained drugs, calling in a dog to sniff was unacceptable.
In one of the separate, yet essentially concurring decisions upholding the Queen’s Bench decision, Chief Justice John Klebuc and justices Gary Lane, Robert Richards, Gene Anne Smith and Ysanne Wilkinson said Yeh’s rights were violated by the sniffer dog search “and the trial judge made no error in excluding the evidence obtained as a result of that breach.” Justices Georgina Jackson and Darla Hunter concurred with that finding in their decision. […]
Meanwhile, Jackson — writing also on Hunter’s behalf — said “there is a good reason to limit dog searches when a person is detained.”
Jackson said police powers shouldn’t be expanded to allow the use of dogs in searches in instances where police officers themselves couldn’t by law perform a search.
“Police conduct must be considered objectively from the perspective of the ordinary travelling public, as well as from the perspective of crime prevention,” Jackson wrote. “If the police can use a sniffer dog when a person is detained in the circumstances such as the case at bar, the traffic stop runs the risk of becoming a pretext for a search for drugs.”
See that last sentence? “…the traffic stop runs the risk of becoming a pretext for a search for drugs.”
Exactly the place we’re at in the United States. We even have officers who brag that it’s the only reason they do traffic stops.
Supreme Court Justices of Canda Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Justices understand this. Why is it so difficult for our Supreme Court?