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Those Doggone Sniffs Are Often Wrong: The Fourth Amendment Has Gone To The Dogs
By Jeffrey S. Weiner, Kimberly Homan
Perpetuating the myth of the precision and noninvasiveness of the “sui generis” dog sniff which informed the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Place,1 in which the Court held that the brief detention of luggage located in a public place for purposes of exposing it to a dog sniff did not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment,2 the Court in Illinois v. Caballes3 held that the employment of a dog sniff during a legitimate traffic stop does not constitute a constitutionally cognizable intrusion upon legitimate privacy interests.4 The purpose of this article is not to critique Caballes’ myopic Fourth Amendment analysis, which has already been ably done in this publication and elsewhere,5 nor is it to explore the current state of the law regarding the legal significance of so-called positive canine “alerts” for reasonable suspicion, probable cause, stops, seizures, or searches. Instead, it has a more practical focus, one which concentrates on the litigatio
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