Vice Squad
Friday, November 21, 2003
Illinois Supreme Court Limits Drug Sniffs

A 4-3 Illinois Supreme Court decision yesterday has raised the
standard for the use of drug sniffing dogs during traffic stops,
according to today's Chicago Tribune. Dogs are frequently
used to sniff around, on, and under cars, even in the absence of
probable cause. Dog searches also are employed against the
cars of motorists who refuse a request to consent to a search.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the police must have
reasonable suspicion, and not just a vague hunch, before
they can legally employ a drug-sniffing dog.

With this decision, the Illinois Supremes overturned the conviction
and a twelve-year sentence of a man caught with what was
described as "about $250,000 worth of marijuana."

Vice Squad has recently ruminated about the evolution of
search and seizure law when the relevant cases are dominated
by factually guilty criminals.

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