Vice Squad
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Supremes to Take Drug Dog Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear an Illinois case involving the use of drug sniffing dogs in traffic stops, reports the Chicago Sun-Times today.

The defendant in the case was pulled over for a routine traffic stop, and the cops immediately brought over a drug dog, which "alerted" on the car. The cops found over 200 pounds of marijuana, and the defendant was arrested for trafficking. The defendant's attorney noted that,"the dogs always "alert" but most of the time no drugs are found." He continued, "In 2000, the [Illinois State Police] did 3,766 searches and had only 445 finds."

Although the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that police can use drug sniffing dogs without violating an individual's Fourth Amendment rights, those have been cases where the police had probable cause to believe the suspect was carrying drugs. In this case, the dogs were brought in on merely a routine traffic stop.

Keeping true to lawmakers' non-partisanly idiotic views on drug policy in this country, State Attorney General and Democrat, Lisa Madigan, sees no problem whatsoever with these types of searches. If the case is overturned by the Supreme Court, every time someone is pulled over for any type of moving violation, they could be subjected to the humiliation and delay of standing by the road while a menacing German Shepard tears their car apart. Yeah, there's nothing unreasonable about that.

[Update: Vice Squad looked at this dog-sniffing case when it was decided by the Illinois Supreme Court in November.]

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