Friday, May 13, 2011

Drug Dogs: No Warrant Necessary

Yet another drug dog search and arrest in the news, this time from Crescent City. I'm finding these stories more and more disturbing if only for the fact they're widespread and most people seem to find them acceptable.

In this case a couple people are stopped in a car for traffic violations. A police dog is brought to the scene which is considered "
...routine that he would do that.". Naturally, the dog alerts to drugs in the car and the officers search the car. And, naturally, the dog isn't used to pinpoint the supposed drugs, but gives officers cause to search the whole car.

What do they find first? Some prescription drugs, which I feel safe in saying aren't something dogs would normally alert on. If they are, that means many of us are open to having our cars searched at any time for no reason. Almost as an aside, the article mentions a couple bags of methamphetamine that were also supposedly found after the prescription drugs are found.

Fair enough with the meth since I would think dogs might be trained to alert to methamphetamine. Still, the cops once again search the whole car because of a vague alert by the dog and that leaves the whole car open to search without warrant.

And these dogs don't seem to be reliable as some might think. I've written before about one guy who was stopped by police and a drug dog alerted to drugs in his car. No drugs were found. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A few weeks ago Radley Balko did a post about a police search of a couple middle schools using drug dogs. The dog alerted to drugs in student's lockers over 20 times, yet no drugs were found.

This is commonplace and it seems to be getting worse with no indication that I've heard of the courts questioning the validity of these searches. It seems the situation will only get worse, and the vast majority of us will respond with a simple shrug of our shoulders.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is video out there of police dogs being trained to "alert for drugs" on subtle command by the handler. Drug dogs are the most unreliable tool police use.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Someone who commented on one of Radley Balko's posts said some study showed dogs often alert because they can sense their handler wants them to. I could see that happening.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you calling the dog a fucking liar?

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Well guess what. They use dogs to search the mail. The dogs sniff out meth. If you are dumb enough to ship money (Cash) in the mail the dogs will find it. All cash has meth on it. It will be held as evidence and you have to prove that it is your LEGAL money to get it back.

It never happened to me, but I know somebody that lost $800.00 dollars that way. It was money for a tow bill.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

All cash has meth on it.

The version of that I heard was that all cash will test positive for cocaine.

See how this works? They set it up so everything is related to drugs so they can search for it without a warrant and seize all cash under asset forfeiture laws.


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