Dogs are like the Supreme Court. Often wrong.

One of the worst Supreme Court decisions of recent years was Caballes v. Illinois, where Justice Stevens wrote for the majority that merely having a dog accuse you was enough to justify a 4th Amendment search with no other suspicion needed. He wrote:

A dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment.”

… and with that, he put the Supreme Court seal of approval on police fishing expeditions.

He wrote that as if the Fourth Amendment was merely an issue of criminals’ rights as opposed to citizens’ rights. And apparently, in the world of most of the Justices, dogs are completely infallible, because absolutely no thought was given to the rights of innocent drivers not to have their cars ripped apart on the side of the highway.

The Supremes completely failed in part because they didn’t demand proof of canine infallibility, and also because they failed to understand statistical math. We went ahead and crunched the numbers to show that even high-percentage-success dogs will infringe the rights of a horrific number of innocent citizens.

A few years later, I revisited Caballes while reviewing a piece of absolute rubbish by James B. Johnston of Seton Hall University, who fawned over Stevens’ horrible decision without an ounce of research or thought.

Just last month, someone (perhaps Johnston) left a message stating that:

Since you are such an expert on Mr. Johnston and his “drivel” note this. His article was cited as an authority in a brief filed by the Florida Attorney General’s Office to the Florida Supreme Court. The case was a drug sniffing dog case. Guess what. The Forida AG won. Some “drivel” . You and your fellow apologists for the drug trade really need to get over yourselves..

That doesn’t make it not drivel. It just means that the Florida Supreme Court was also dead wrong, and Johnston just helped them screw it up.

Well, just in case anybody still believed that this was a good decision, some hard data is now out.

[Chicago] Tribune analysis: Drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops often wrong — High number of fruitless searches of Hispanics’ vehicles cited as evidence of bias.

The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs, which triggers automobile searches. But a Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.

For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.

For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent. That means that when you see a couple of police cars on the highway with their lights flashing, with officers going through a car, searching through the trunk, while some poor Hispanic youth stands nervously by, 73 percent of the time, the driver was innocent. Of course, the search took a long time, so by now maybe he was late to his job (“Why were you late?” “The police were searching my car.”) or maybe even to a date.

It’s not victimless. And clearly, based on the numbers, not only are Hispanics being targeted, but it’s likely that the officers are passing on to their canines their desire that the Hispanic be a druggie (and dogs are often eager to please).

“Is there a potential for handlers to cue these dogs to alert?” he asked. “The answer is a big, resounding yes.”

That frustrates Martinez, the attorney from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Dogs do not have the human failings that have led to the targeting of minorities, but Martinez worries that an officer’s bias can translate through the dog leash. She fears drug-sniffing dogs are another tool to justify roadside searches of innocent drivers, the unfair consequences of what she called “driving while Mexican.”

“People of color are just targets,” she said.

I really love the way law enforcement responds to this study:

Dog-handling officers and trainers argue the canine teams’ accuracy shouldn’t be measured in the number of alerts that turn up drugs. They said the scent of drugs or paraphernalia can linger in a car after drugs are used or sold, and the dogs’ noses are so sensitive they can pick up residue from drugs that can no longer be found in a car.

Oh, that’s convenient. Just claim that every innocent person that was targeted probably had the smell of pot on their jacket and that’s why Spot alerted.

Well, if that’s the case, then make it illegal to smell like drugs and then prove in court that there was a physical odor present. Otherwise, it’s just a convenient unprovable excuse for you to justify the unlawful violation of people’s Fourth Amendment rights.

And… “accuracy shouldn’t be measured in the number of alerts that turn up drugs” Really? How should it be measured? You don’t get to just pretend that searches of innocent citizens didn’t happen.

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39 Responses to Dogs are like the Supreme Court. Often wrong.

  1. kant says:

    aside from the fact that it is difficult distinguish between a dog that incorrectly signals the presence of drugs; the trainer giving some alternate signal to trigger the same response in the dog (ie fraud); OR when the residue of a drug is still present even though the drug may no longer be present. Are you really surprised? I mean how often do police officers claim to smell pot and force a search?

    I’m kind of surprised the court hasn’t just come out and said “police can search location/area/device, anytime for the sake of public safety”

  2. kaptinemo says:

    “But even advocates for the use of drug-sniffing dogs agree with experts who say many dog-and-officer teams are poorly trained and prone to false alerts that lead to unjustified searches. Leading a dog around a car too many times or spending too long examining a vehicle, for example, can cause a dog to give a signal for drugs where there are none, experts said.

    “If you don’t train, you can’t be confident in your dog,” said Alex Rothacker, a trainer who works with dozens of local drug-sniffing dogs. “A lot of dogs don’t train. A lot of dogs aren’t good.”

    And…it doesn’t take much training to teach a dog to react to the slightest unspoken command, like a gesture. Like, gently tugging the dog’s leash to elicit a ‘reaction’ and causing the dog to, say, make the same motions it’s been taught to do while signaling the presence of illicit drugs. Mighty handy in those bad stops where the cop just knows, he just knows the driver is guilty.

    Condemned by a ‘dumb animal’. That kind of thing happened in the Inquisition, with its’ Cardinals asking barn animals if their owner was guilty of witchcraft, and judging some poor wretch on the basis of a chicken squawk or a pig grunting. Not much has changed, has it?

  3. Maria says:

    Kant, yeah, give it a year or two. It’s being implemented along the lines of expanding and melding the definitions of public and corporate spaces and then extolling the virtues of patrolling and securing those spaces for the public safety and good. The cheering section is of course made up of most of the fourth branch and many ‘Serious People’ who have ‘Grown Up’ and ‘Understand the Times We Live In’.

    There are already so many special security areas in varying degrees. Train platforms and trains, buses, airports (not just airplanes and passenger areas), parking decks, stadiums, arenas, theaters, hospitals, libraries, museums, state and federal government buildings, malls, schools, clubs, restaurants, transit systems, beaches, lobbies, plazas, squares, parks, parades, concerts, all sorts of private companies and buildings.

    Now add expanded security zones around these areas, in addition to the expanded security zones in and around anything that is categorized as key infrastructure. Bridges, damns, substations, power lines and plants, sewer access points and water treatment, rivers, lakes, government storage areas, highways, communication towers.

    Then expand the definition of “security” and “emergency” situations and how police powers are to be used in such situations. So it’s definitely not hard to picture the world of “police can search location/area/device, anytime for the sake of public safety” it’s just that, a lot of the public have yet to clue in that this world is pretty much already here.

  4. “a substance that no individual has any right to possess” — oh really mr justice? says who?!

  5. warren says:

    Sounds more and more gestapoish to me. Let us posses machine guns and see if road stops continue.

  6. Duncan20903 says:

    There’s a commuter ferry in British Columbia that’s very popular to cross some body of water. The RCMP decided to start running a dog through the crowd to find people with drugs. Some of those crazy Canadian hippies took a bunch of leaf, extracted oil, coated the bottoms of their shoes and walked around on the ferry in order to confuse Fido, or so they claimed. But the RCMP did drop the project in very short order.

    Frankly the fact that a dog will alert to an odor that exists after the contraband has been removed should be enough to establish that a dog is not a reliable way to establish probable cause. Reasonable suspicion, yeah I can entertain the argument that they can still be used at border crossings and childrens’ school lockers but I can go to Hertz, rent a car that was used the day before for a drug delivery and the dog will alert. That’s probable cause to rifle through my suitcase and the box with my collection of marital aids? It’s really embarrassing to have to explain how a fleshlight works to a random cop, and they’re not illegal to possess.

    (The legal concept of in loco parentis says school administrators have the right to rifle through any locker they please. In this case they’re using the dog to cut down on the work involved and to intrude on the nominal privacy of as many students as possible. Let the SCOTUS work out whether criminal charges based on a locker search with the unreliable dog sniff as cause for searching a particular locker should proceed)

    I had a dog for about 15 years that would have made a great bomb dog. He was absolutely queer for gunpowder. It is how he came to be my dog. A friend and I were walking back to my house in the middle of the night, stoned to the bejeezus. My friend had a pocketful of jumping jacks which he was lighting periodically. He lit one and tossed it and my dog came out of nowhere and grabbed that sucker with his mouth growling and shaking it like a pitbull with a toddler. Damn dog, didn’t that hurt?? I guess not, we finished the walk and the dog was still with us and chased every subsequent jumping jack that my friend lit. Less relevantly there was a 1%er passed out drunk by a wire mesh public trash can, and Dogmeat decided to take a leak on the opposite side, just pissing all over this guys face. He was lucky the goon was too drunk to stand up but that’s still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

    So the point of describing my dog and his love of gunpowder is to segue into his single mindedness when he was searching. There just wasn’t any buffer space for him to be worried about pleasing me when he was searching. His brain was fully occupied with the task at hand. It makes me skeptical that LECs are intent on pleasing their LEOs when they’re sent to look for their toy. Dogmeat just didn’t have the capability of having that many thoughts in his head at the same time. My thinking is it’s more likely that the LEOs just make up the ‘alert’ when the dog never did so. Do they ever record a video to prove that the dog alerted, or do we just accept the LEO at his word? But that’s just angels dancing on the head of a pin, either way it shouldn’t rise to the level of probable cause.

    LEC = Law Enforcement Canine

  7. Duncan20903 says:

    Say kaptinemo, not that long ago I read an analysis of the common practice in the Middle Ages of “trial by ordeal” which made a darn good case that it served justice a lot better than our current system of justice. The people actually believed this shit worked, including the criminals, so only the innocent would subject themselves to the ordeals.

    Oh heck, here it is, written by our mutual friend Radley Balko in Reason Magazine.

  8. Duncan20903 says:

    “a substance that no individual has any right to possess”

    And amazingly there are people who think that liberals are friends of freedom. Go figure that one out.

  9. malcolm kyle says:

    “a substance that no individual has any right[s] to possess”

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  11. John says:

    Perhaps the cops should also be forced to use carrier pigeons to relay their communiques if they are to use dogs to alert to POTENTIAL contraband.

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  13. kaptinemo says:

    “And amazingly there are people who think that liberals are friends of freedom. Go figure that one out.”

    Duncan, the ‘classic’ liberals have become the paleoconservatives, and the modern liberals are nothing more than an updated version of the ‘Progressives’ that saddled us with the very same for-your-own-good Nanny State begun almost a century ago…the same ones that started the racist, bigoted DrugWar. All due to them being so much more (ahem) ‘enlightened’ than the rest of their neighbors.

    Not much changes but the labels. Once more:

    “Political tags–such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and. so forth–are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.” (Emphasis mine – k.) from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, written by RA Heinlein

  14. claygooding says:

    With a black president,you would think that he would at the least acknowledge the drug war’s racial applications by law enforcement and make at least a token effort to enact policies that would level the playing field.
    What kind of mixed message is that sending the younger generations,whom we hope are improving in racial issues and conflicts,that as long as it is against drugs,racial profiling is OK?

  15. allan420 says:

    in doing research on drug sniffing dogs for a friend in a bit of trubble because of a LE dog’s actions on his car (who lines out their drugs for them? And does a dog get a little bitty line or a buckhead?) I found the 25% correct hits number (which means 75% wrong) also. C’mon… ya gotta admit that’s a pretty good percentage in Prohibition Excrementalist Math (PEM)! It’s all relative.

  16. claygooding says:

    PS:If the WoD is really over as professed by Kerli every time he gets close to a microphone.when is the cease fire going into effect?

  17. Duncan20903 says:

    It’s really amazing that people cede the point that the dog sniff doesn’t mean there’s contraband present, and then uses that as a reason why an unreliable dog sniff is, um..,well,..reliable.

    Well at least they’re not as senseless as the ones who see the article as accusing the dogs of being racist.

    It seems like every day of my life I get to say, that’s it, I’ll never run into someone that’s more stupid than this goofball. I guess that’s why they didn’t name that movie “Dumber and Dumbest”.

  18. Duncan20903 says:

    clay, what in the world makes you think that Mr. Obama is black? If he gets reelected he may well do a rendition of “My Mammy” at his inauguration ball. Seriously, it’s just makeup, yeah it’s fooled a lot of people so no need to be ashamed. He’s also fooled a lot of people into thinking he isn’t a Republitard as well. No matter whether you like him or love him you’ve got to admit the man is a talented actor.

    Hey, I never knew before today that it was William Frawley (aka Fred Mertz) that originally sang that song back in 1918.

  19. Servetus says:

    Conventional lie detector methods have inaccuracies, and so the results of lie detector tests are precluded from being entered into evidence in trial proceedings.

    Drug sniffing dogs are at least as inaccurate as lie detector tests, and yet dog alerts are considered sufficient enough evidence to justify the issuance of a search warrant.

    It appears that any voodoo capable of justifying the circumvention of 4th Amendment protections is acceptable to a court when dealing with drug cases, effectively creating an unwritten drug-exception-clause to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  20. C.E. says:

    Twice I have seen Border Patrol canine handlers, when asked what percentage of their dog alerts are false positives, profess not to understand the meaning of the term “false positive.” After the question was clarified, they both testified, without a hint of irony, that their dogs never made mistakes: if the dog alerted, then there must have been drugs there at some point in the past. Not a single person in the courtroom seemed to care that in a court of law, a witness was stating that an animal was completely infallible.

    Keep in mind that dog handlers will proudly testify that not just anyone can tell when a dog is “alerting” or “indicating” (these are presumably two different things) on something. Only that dog’s handler can do that. So an alert consists of two components: a dog’s behavior, and the handler’s interpretation of it.

    If I were a judge and a prosecutor argued that this was a basis for probable cause to search a vehicle, I’d hold him in contempt.

  21. Daniel says:

    So, every vehicle that once had *legal* medical marijuana in it is now subject to a search? Maybe that’s one reason government officials hate medical marijuana.

  22. BruceM says:

    Excellent analysis. Reasonable minds simply cannot differ on this issue.

    Everyone should go read about the famous horse named Clever Hans and the “Clever Hans effect” which has a direct bearing on this. Animals that are told to do something and get rewarded with a tasty treat when they do it are very clever indeed.

  23. Duncan20903 says:

    I still want to see video of these dogs ‘alerting’ but it just crossed my mind that it isn’t an either/or choice when it comes to whether the cop is simply lying and saying that the dog alerted or has somehow used a
    Jedi mind trick to make the dog actually alert. There’s no reason why both couldn’t be happening.

    I still favor the assertion that the cops are simply making it up. It seems to me that it would take a bit of intelligence and talent to be able to surreptitiously make a dog alert on command. No, not a whole heckuva a lot of talent and intelligence but we must keep in mind that we’re talking about cops.

  24. DdC says:

    The German shepherd is a breed of dog created by nazis in 1941 when they needed a canine that smelled allied soldiers. It’s well known for ironically adorable “happy dance” behavior right before killing its unfortunate victim.

    Blondi (1941 — 30 April 1945) was Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd dog… Blondi played a role in Nazi propaganda, of which portraying Hitler as an animal lover was an important aspect. Dogs like Blondi were coveted as “germanischer Urhund”, being close to the wolf, and grew very fashionable during the Third Reich.

    McGruff the Crime Dog for use by American police in building crime awareness among children. McGruff reaches kids through commercials, songs and booklets from the National Crime Prevention Council, talking about drugs, bullying, safety and the importance of staying in school.

    Canadian Drug-Sniffing Dog Will Make House Calls

    A Canadian couple has launched a business offering worried parents or concerned employers private drug-detection services that will search homes and offices for everything from marijuana to heroin… The dog, named Alis Vicona, cost C$20,000 ($16,000) and can detect drugs or the residue of drugs in buildings or on clothing, even after 30 days.

    Drug dogs are a reminder of similar Police-State tactics and obsessive Gestapo behavior under the Nat’l Socialist German Workers Party.


    Black or white, at least he’s not orange…

  25. BruceM says:

    The German Shepherd was not created by the Nazis. Yes, they were used by the Nazis for nefarious purposes and Hitler did own several of them, though the US used them too (quite extensively, especially as “war dogs” in the Pacific). But the breed was NOT created by the Nazis. Max von Stephanitz created the breed in 1899, decades before the first Nazi ever existed.

    But you’re right about the evil nature and purpose of “drug dogs”… though aside from symbolizing the police state in which we live and the resultant abuses of our freedoms, I think the worst thing is that every dog sniffing for drugs is one less dog sniffing for bombs. We need all the bomb sniffing dogs we can get since we live in a society too pussified and politically correct to even acknowledge that muslims are our enemy, and thus we strip search little old ladies while we let bearded muslim men carrying korans into airports. Islam is just like drug prohibition – both are incompatible with, and the enemies of humanity, freedom, and functional civilized society.

  26. DdC says:

    Your right the Nazi’s didn’t create them… The American fascist were tight with Adolph, IGFarben and Prohibition. The American gestapo still use them for “crowd control” and as war paraphernalia. Somehow if memory serves the “intent” of the forefathers protection against searches without probable cause was for the people’s protection. Not cops. Same as what was needed against King George, one of the reasons for rebellion. Those elected who fail to see the truth and have the knowledge to see the truth and go along with the falsehoods anyway. Are guilty of treason. Besides being weasels, jagoffs and jerks.

    As for Islam you forget it is the US forcing its 21st century technology and weapons on a primitive culture to exploit their resources. To blame them is like blaming children for getting hurt when you give them booze and guns. We created our OPEC enemies and now with too many polluting air ships flying I care less about airports other than to shut them down for contrails. Best to think about acting locally and less travel. The DEAth have done far more terrorizing than Al Qaeda. It was Rayguns Boosh giving the Taliban loans and Ben Lauden scud missels to fight the Ruskies and chemical weapons to Sadamn. Junior holding hands with the sheik. For fossil fools we should have never given up Hemp for. Along with 80+ DEAth offices around the globe, several “police actions” sucking down tax dollars, besides the blatent waste perpetuating the Ganjawar. Corporate welfare and Prison supplies while teachers and nurses get pay cuts. 10 prisons built and 1 university and we wonder why with all the information we still have drug sniffer dogs.

    Constitutional GOPerversions & Their Pathetic Apologists

    Welcome to Uncyclopedia,
    the content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
    The German shepherd is a breed of dog created by nazis in 1941…
    Unlike the chihuahua, the German Shepherd cannot be crushed with the stomp of a large boot.

    German Shepherd Dog
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    n 1899, Von Stephanitz was attending a dog show when he was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was 1/4th wolf. Hektor was the product of many generations of selective breeding…

    After purchasing the dog he changed its name to Horand von Grafrath and Von Stephanitz founded the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog).[5] Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and was the first dog added to the society’s breed register…

  27. darkcycle says:

    Canine ‘false positives’ used to justify illegal searches:

  28. Duncan20903 says:

    Indeed, it’s shameful to blame the entire body of members of a religion for those that abuse the religion. Christians used to form armies and invade the Muslim world. You might have heard of the Crusades?

    The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and their campaigns were launched in response to a call from the Christian Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia.

    Try to keep in mind this is just the opinion of a stone cold atheist who believes the entire planet would be better off if the superstition of religion completely disappeared.

    I do recall coming through airport security once and they had the quintessential little old lady over in the area reserved for the people who were getting more complete inspections. All 4’6″ and perhaps as much as 90 lbs of her, and the look in her eyes told me she was an Alzheimer’s victim and totally clueless that she was even in an airport. It seemed a shame, but if you start granting free passes to such people the terrorists may indeed try to employ them in their goals. I’m a guy who knows first hand how stupid the idea of profiling is, having never “fit the profile”. While the cops were busy rousting young black men in baggy pants for a joint I was waltzing by unmolested with a couple of pounds of contraband and laughing at the idiocy of the authorities. The most important reason for doing away with the authorities use of profiling is that there are lots of people just like me laughing all the way to the bank. Skip the racism part, skip the unfairness, we don’t even need to consider that stuff, right, wrong, or indifferent. Profiling needs to go because it enables people that don’t fit the profile to break the law with impunity. I’m retired from that now so I’m OK with it.

  29. Shap says:

    The Florida Supreme Court is forced to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedent based on the Florida Constitution. So just because the Florida Supreme Court sided with the Florida AG says nothing about the Florida AG’s logic but simply means that the Florida Supreme Court is State Constitutionally mandated to follow the Illinois v. Caballes holding nomatter how terrible the decision was. The Florida Supreme Court siding with that brief should not be evidence of how amazing the brief was. So glad Justice Stevens is retired and gone. As the author of Raich and Caballes, he was a true drug warrior on the bench.

  30. Shap says:

    As far as muslims and christians are concerned, ANY religious people, based on the illogical nature of their beliefs, are enemies of logical thought and science, unfortunately.

  31. BruceM says:

    Pete: sorry but that website just doesn’t pass the smell test for me. It looks and sounds totally fake, like some odd sort of propaganda that just exists for people to cite to (not saying you’re doing so knowingly). Muslims use themselves as body shields to protect the Coptic christians in Egypt? Come on. Muslims bombed the Coptic church on New Year’s day killing 21 people, and that was just the latest in a long line of attacks on the tiny coptic minority. You expect me to believe a claim that Egyptian muslims were holding hands using themselves as human shields to protect the hated Coptic infidels from attacks from other muslims? That’s about as believable as a drug statistic off the DEA’s website. There are an increasing number of fake websites that tell fake stories meant to help a group make an argument. For example there are fake websites that have stories about scientists who oppose evolution and support intelligent design, atheists who support prayer in school and banning abortion, gays who oppose legalizing gay marriage, etc. Merely posting false statistics isn’t good enough anymore. Nothing is more valuable than an actual story about a person or people who’s actions or beliefs purportedly contradict a given claim. Being able to say “See, even atheists believe evolution is wrong and that we should be teaching creationism in schools” is infinitely more valuable than any bullshit statistic. All these fake websites/articles are used to let someone cite it and say “look, see!” Muslims holding hands and using themselves as human sheilds to protect a religious minority from their own Islamic bombing attacks is the most unbelievable fake story I’ve ever read, but it’s necessary for people who want to cite to something when they’re making the argument that “islam is a peaceful religion.” One need only read the Koran to know this fact. I don’t just hate Islam, I hate all religions; however, Islam is by far the worst of them all.

    Duncan20903: The key words there are Christians “used to”… I don’t care which religion was most dangerous and violent 1000 years ago. I care only which religion is most dangerous to humanity today, in the year 2011. And that would be islam. There’s not even a close second.

  32. DdC says:

    And that would be islam. There’s not even a close second.

    The religion of the drug worriers tops all. Even the Islamic spare their own usually. Or at least don’t target them. All religion may be founded on horshit, but do people actually believe it or just have blind faith? I believe the drug worriers actually believe it. Of the billion Islams how many hurl bombs? Of the billion christians how many hurl scuds and mandatory minimum sentences? Besides it was Cheney imploding the twin towers. He’s a-religious as far as I know.

  33. BruceM says:

    Drug prohibition is close to being its own religion, i’ll give you that. It certainly requires faith to be a drug warrior, because all the facts, data, reason and logic would cause one to oppose the drug war. So like religion, you have to believe and “Know” that which is false in order to support drug prohibition.

    Belief and blind faith are not mutually exclusive; blind faith is just belief without evidence. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow, but it’s not based on blind faith, I have science and data to support my belief. But to say I believe jesus christ is the son of god who rose from the dead or to say I believe that legalizing drugs would cause the collapse of society is to believe something without any evidence and contrary to all reason and data.

  34. DdC says:

    Ron White on his Pot Bust YouTube – Part 1 of 4

    They Busted Tater Salad!
    Ron White – Wikipedia

    September 10, 2008: White was found to be in possession of 7/8 of a gram of marijuana.

    April 27, 2009 was designated as “Ron White Day” in the State of Texas by Texas legislative officials. White received the Armed Forces Foundation’s “Patriot Award” in March 2009 for his work in raising money to help wounded soldiers. White also held benefit shows for Hurricane Katrina relief.

    * As you may have known, I got myself into a bit of trouble lately. [audience cheers] And I’ll tell you what happened. I was heading down to Florida to do a show, and I flew in on a private jet that you guys bought me. Thank you. It’s niiice. We landed in Vero Beach Florida, and there were cops waiting for me, and cops love me, so do firemen. Sometimes they will escort me from the airport to the venue, and this…wasn’t one of those times. The cop came to me and said, “Mr. White, we have been told there are drugs on this plane by an anonymous tip.” I said, “There are absolutely no drugs on the plane.” I did have a bit of weed in my bag, but it’s not on the plane, so technically I’m not lying. And the cop says, “Well, may we search the plane?” I said, “You may absolutely not search this plane unless you have probable cause,” because I still have civil liberties, you know what I mean? [Audience cheers] I do.

    * And they ask me, “Well, is it alright if we let the drug-sniffing dog walk along the outside of the plane?” I said, “That’s fine,” and the dog walks back and forth a few times, and the cop says, “Well, the dog gave us the signal there are drugs on the plane,” and I was like, “…No, he didn’t! That dog didn’t do anything, I was starting straight at him! He didn’t wink, blink, woof, or paw. What’s his signal, a blank stare? [Mimes a blank stare] That’s all he did!” And the cop says, “Well, the dog gave us the signal there are drugs on the plane,” And I said, “Well I said there are no drugs on the plane. Who are you going to believe, me or…Ah, fuck it, whatever.” It takes them an hour and a half to search this plane, and I’m standing there going, “Oh, come on!” And of course there are no drugs on the plane, and I think that’s it, and then the cop goes, “Now that dog needs to sniff that bag you have with you,” and I was like, [Scooby Doo voice] “Ruh Roh!” They found 7/8 of a gram of marijuana in my bag. I consider myself OUT of marijuana when I have 7/8 of a gram. Thats no weed.

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