Florida v. Jardines: The Supreme Court Curbs Drug-Sniffing Dogs
17 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2014
Date Written: September 6, 2013
In Florida v. Jardines, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether law enforcement is permitted to use drug-sniffing dogs to investigate areas on private property surrounding homes for drugs without a search warrant. In a 5-4 decision, the Court limited law enforcement’s ability to search a home via drug-sniffing dogs without a warrant, classifying such a search as a trespass.
Jardines extended the recent line of Fourth Amendment cases limiting law enforcement by expanding the definition of "unreasonable searches and seizures" and focusing on the original meaning of the Amendment. By continuing this trend, the Court signaled that law enforcement must still respect the spirit of the Fourth Amendment in spite of rapidly developing technology making it easier for police to gain information from citizens.
Part II of this Note describes the facts surrounding the case and the lower court decisions that led to Supreme Court review. Part III provides an overview of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, focusing specifically on the meaning of the word "search," and offers a historical review of the law regarding police use of drug-sniffing dogs. Part IV discusses the majority decision as well as the concurring and dissenting opinions. Part V analyzes the majority opinion and the likelihood of future litigation as a result of the Court’s limited holding.
Keywords: Florida v. Jardines, drug-sniffing dogs, 4th amendment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation