The Dog Days of Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence

16 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013 Last revised: 13 Sep 2013

Kit Kinports

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

This Article discusses Florida v. Harris and Florida v. Jardines, the two Fourth Amendment drug dog opinions issued by the Supreme Court earlier this year. Together the cases hold that a narcotics detection dog effects a “search” when it intrudes on a constitutionally protected area in order to collect evidence, but that the dog’s positive alert is generally sufficient to support a finding of probable cause. The piece argues that both cases essentially generate a bright-line rule, thereby deviating from precedent that favored a more amorphous standard considering all the surrounding circumstances. Like many purportedly clear rules, the ones flowing from the drug dog decisions lack precision and therefore create an inherent risk of overinclusion or underinclusion. Here, the Article concludes, Harris exhibits overconfidence in the accuracy of drug dog alerts, while Jardines threatens to underprotect less privileged socio-economic classes.

Keywords: Fourth Amendment, drug dogs

Suggested Citation

Kinports, Kit, The Dog Days of Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence (July 1, 2013). Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol. 108; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 34-2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2293937

Kit Kinports (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
Room 335
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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