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Supreme Court Hearing Case On Drug-Sniffing Dog "Fishing Expeditions"

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the smells-like-hippies dept.

Privacy 451

sgunhouse writes "Wired is running an article on a Supreme Court challenge (well, actually two of them) to the use of drug-sniffing dogs. The first case discussed involved Florida police using a drug-sniffing dog as a basis for searching a suspected drug dealer's home. The court in Florida excluded the evidence obtained from the search, saying a warrant should be required for that sort of use of a dog. Personally, I agree — police have no right to parade a dog around on private property on a 'fishing expedition', same as they need a warrant to use a thermal imaging device to search for grow houses. I have no use for recreational drugs, but they had better have a warrant if they want to bring a dog onto my property."

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Did the cop got fired? (0)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41827993)

Or did he pulled a Cartman stunt, I misinterpreted the rules?

Re:Did the cop got fired? (3, Informative)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41828013)

Never-mind, after I read the article it's clearly in the gray zone.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to hold oral arguments concerning the novel question of whether judges may issue search warrants for private residences when a drug-sniffing dog outside the home reacts as if it smells drugs inside.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41828057)

I've often wondered about this sort of thing. I imagine that a dog could probably identify the house from the road. If you live in an apartment and the landlord lets the cops into the halls with the dog. Identify the apartments with pot, and get a warrant for search of that apartment. I, as a person with a not so keen sense of smell, can tell you which apartments have pot in them if you walk by at the right time of day.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#41828297)

I, as a person with a not so keen sense of smell, can tell you which apartments have pot in them if you walk by at the right time of day.

You don't have to hide it. On the internet no one knows you're a dog.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41828807)

It's easy, you smell someone smoking pot, and look for the guy puffing away on his fatty sitting on the front porch. Some days at the grocery store I almost get a contact high from the potheads on a munchy run.

Wait, I'm being insensitive... The "medical patients" who are taking their "medication".

I don't want pot to be illegal, but it needs to be regulated like alcohol. If you go to the store drunk as hell it is as rude as going there completely baked, and you have a major problem if you do that.

I just wish the stupid republicans would stop being turd sandwiches and just make it legal and wrap it into the Tobacco and Alcohol rules.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#41828059)

The thing is, dogs are eager to please. You dont even have to try to train them to alert whenever their handler is suspicious - they do that naturally. So the way this works is, the cop's 'gut' isnt sufficient to get a warrant, he needs some evidence not just a hunch. So he just gets the dog, who naturally picks up on the handlers state of mind and will alert as a result, neatly giving that initial hunch credibility and transforming it into 'evidence' which can justify a search.

It's a neat solution to those for whom the Constitution and the fundamentals of our legal system are 'problems' I suppose. Now the only question is whether the Supremes will give this workaround their stamp of approval immediately or send it back down the ranks for some tweaking.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#41828569)

You mean the "Clever Hans" effect where the handler provides the cues instead of the smell? It's a know issue, both handlers and dogs are trained to try and avoid it.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (4, Insightful)

Dr Damage I (692789) | about 2 years ago | (#41828727)

Are you assuming the handler wants to avoid it?

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | about 2 years ago | (#41828795)

You mean the "Clever Hans" effect where the handler provides the cues instead of the smell? It's a know issue, both handlers and dogs are trained to try and avoid it.

Oh, they are trained for it alright. The problem is, the pigs actually follow that training.

You have the internet, go look up some of the anecdotal stories of people watching the pigs sniff around their cars at a traffic stop for mounds of first impressions "gee, it sorta looked like the handler ordered the dog to signal", for the pigs to then find nothing after turning out and partially destroying the contents of the car.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828657)

Geeze dopeheads
  It is not "trespassing" to just come onto someones property and come to the door, just like a trick-or-treater would.
 
The dogs are trained to alert on illegal narcotics and other contraband.
 
If you aren't doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Insightful)

Dr Damage I (692789) | about 2 years ago | (#41828739)

The dogs are entirely capable of alerting based not on the presence of anything illegal but based on it's handlers desire that it do so. One of the issues under consideration is exactly how accurate does a dog need to be to generate probable cause: police don't often record false positives, so there is no way of knowing if the dogs alert is evidence of anything other than the handlers state of mind.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#41828891)

If you aren't doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about

If you aren't doing anything illegal and the present and all future authorities are completely benign and the present and all future authorities never make mistakes, you have nothing to worry about..

Worried yet?

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828063)

It's not grey area, if the cops are trespassing on your property to make use of the dogs, why not let them go all the way around the house and peer in your windows? It's one thing to look through windows from a publicly accessible vantage point, and quite another to trespass in order to peer in.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41828091)

Who said anything about trespassing? The dogs can smell shit from outside your property.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828279)

the question is not if the dog can smell the pot, is how to prove that it is actually reacting to having smelled the pot or just faking it reacting to its handler subliminal commands.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41828329)

Or the wind blowing in the opposite direction, or any of a number of things.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41828301)

The dogs are trained to give the alert signal on a visual cue from their handler. This is not reasonable evidence that a crime has been committed. It is delegating the grave responsibility of violating a citizen's right to be protected from unwarranted search and seizure from a trained and responsible judge acting on sworn statements of an officer of the court to a dog trained to respond on cue. We may as well shred the fourth amendment.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828385)

Yeah, a hippie I know cleans his pipes in alcohol. This leaves an incredibly odoriferous sludge, extract of burnt pot smell, condensed yuck.
Then he drips it around the neighborhood for blocks around just for the drug dogs. He did the courthouse area once for a joke too. I don't know how long this stuff lasts, but I would imagine a dog could smell it for months. Peeeeeyouuuuuu!

Re:Did the cop got fired? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828515)

"Then he drips it around the neighborhood for blocks around just for the drug dogs."

I always take mine when I go to the airport to get somebody, I drip it on the carpet at the main entry, so there will be many false positives if they use a dog.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828819)

Also consider:

Airport shuttle seats, taxi seats

School busses (often they are parked together somewhere and the windows negligently left open)

Police vehicles (a bit risky to pull off)

The soap supply barrel at the car wash, or those big turning brushes at the car wash

etc.

The whole world should smell like pot!

Re:Did the cop got fired? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828771)

The DOD does this, because they can on a base. Anyway when the US was still stationed in Panama someone would go get a $5 bag of coke from the taxi drivers and put it in floor wax. It was hilarious to watch the dog start barking at the floor and the MP’s would just give up and do the search the old fashioned way by going through all 250 soldiers’ stuff.

Re:Did the cop got fired? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828389)

Who said anything about trespassing? The dogs can smell shit from outside your property.

Studies show that the dog is more likely to react on the handlers behaviour than the actual scent. [tillmanbraniff.com]

This is not really that different than a police officer going to a fortune teller to get a basis for a warrant. Just like the dog, the fortune teller will try to pick up some clue from the police officer of what kind of response he expects and respond accordingly.
Yes, you will get a lot of correct positives, just like you get with a trained dog. You will also get a lot of false positives, just like you get from a trained dog. (Considering that drug sniffing dogs have more than 50% false positives it is not unlikely that the fortune teller will be better at picking up when the police officer is acting out of racism or some other BS than an actual hunch and provide a more accurate result.)

Re:Did the cop got fired? (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41828787)

Cops NEVER get fired. NEVER. Not unless there is a ton of publicity and the mayor is forced to demand it. You cant get fired from the worlds largest gang.

police should be reactive (3)

equex (747231) | about 2 years ago | (#41828011)

we have no use for fishing expedtions and it is a massive privacy invasion. police should be reactive and deal with imminent threats, not go fishing for pot smokers. god damn police state.

Re:police should be reactive (5, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41828031)

This is another problem, just legalize it and stop wasting taxpayer money on chasing ghosts while at the same time cut the income of organized crime.

The organized crime will do far more damage then any pot smoker anyway.

Re:police should be reactive (1)

ganjubas (2580251) | about 2 years ago | (#41828123)

it's a worldwide conspiracy keeping them busy with the easy stuff like farmers and stoners, that are no threat to anyone except cotton makers and pharma-cartels

Re:police should be reactive (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41828537)

The organized crime will do far more damage

Damage to who? Certainly not to those benefiting from this state of affairs...

Re:police should be reactive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828767)

Maybe not but the next time a 17 year old kid in your local ghetto gets gunned down there is a high chance that the black market drug trade was somehow involved.

Re:police should be reactive (2, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41828671)

The organized crime will do far more damage then any pot smoker anyway.

If the criminals are organized enough we call it a Government. Considering the average Politician's behavior, your statement is still correct.

Re:police should be reactive (1, Insightful)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#41828821)

>If the criminals are organized enough we call it a Government.
Or a corporation.

Frankly these days the differences are getting too small to matter.

Re:police should be reactive (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41828925)

you answered your own question they will not legalize it because they make more money from fines seizures etc.

Re:police should be reactive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828175)

we have no use for fishing expedtions and it is a massive privacy invasion.

police should be reactive and deal with imminent threats, not go fishing for pot smokers. god damn police state.

I guess you fail to see this from the perspective of the police officer and his or her sheriff that sends their troops out on patrol. They sure as hell don't want to be "reactive" and go after those dangerous criminals committing actual violent crimes. Hell no.

They would much rather waste their time and our taxpayer money going after non-violent pot smokers.

Strap a gun and a uniform on for a day, I can't say I blame them. It's still wrong, but I see why they do it. What would you rather do going to work today? Go after an armed murderer or a pot smoker? Go figure they choose the easier (and safer) path.

Re:police should be reactive (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | about 2 years ago | (#41828323)

Personally I'd rather go after the person doing the most harm to society. If you're not prepared to go after an armed thief or other violent criminals don't become a police officer.

I've had to go after both types (violent and non-violent) of criminal helping my dad bounty hunt. Can is be scary? Yes, but that's part of the job. You either learn to control your emotions or find another line of work.

Re:police should be reactive (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 2 years ago | (#41828685)

On the internet, no one knows you're Dog the Bounty Hunter!

Re:police should be reactive (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828363)

You're not being cynical enough: You're assuming the function of the police is to fight crime. The function of the police is social control.

You may not be able to bring a mugger to justice, but if enough muggings happen in an area... Setting up something like a speed trap, or some other "reactive" measurement, will give a presence that can deter future crime. Police do small time drug busts, not only to shake down additional federal war on drug funding, but to get CIs. Of course, its bullshit logic as the only reason the CIs have valuable information on organized crime is because the drugs are illegal to begin with.

(Less cynically,) People like armed burglars are likely to be breaking multiple laws at a time. Enforcement of small nonsense like vehicle registration (or your bong) not only functions as social control but can serve as a platform for investigating larger crimes.

Re:police should be reactive (5, Interesting)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 years ago | (#41828399)

In my experience the police don't bother to go out and preemptively fight even the easy crimes. They just sit at the station and wait for someone to come in a report a crime, then they spend 20 minutes trying to trick that person into admitting guilt (even if that person hasn't committed any crimes)

On 2 occasions I have gone with people to the police station to report thefts (a stolen car in one case) and after the police listened to the whole story, their first question was "so, you stole a car?" (in the other case it was a stolen helmet, and the first question was "so, you stole a helmet?")

Why bother putting in the effort to investigate existing crimes when you can just invent a reason to arrest the person standing in front of you. As far as the police are concerned, guilt or innocence doesn't matter as long as SOMEONE goes to jail. After that it becomes the court's problem, the police still meet their monthly arrest quota (and they do have a quota, however much they deny it: http://blog.motorists.org/if-you-didnt-believe-ticket-quotas-existed-before-you-will-now/ [motorists.org] )

Re:police should be reactive (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41828953)

Dogs don't like fishing. That's cats.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828035)

Really? You have no use for recreational drugs? Are you human?

Unwarranted police trespass? (1)

trdtaylor (2664195) | about 2 years ago | (#41828047)

Shoot 'em.
Defend your castle if they don't leave when asked.

Re:Unwarranted police trespass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828103)

And get shot yourself. And vilified in the media as a cop killer. And have your family subject to harassment from crazies, the police (but I repeat myself), the media (also crazy), etc.

Re:Unwarranted police trespass? (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41828283)

Shoot 'em.

Sweet! An internet tough guy thread!

Hey guys, I'm after advice.

I want to tool up to blast the varmints to kindome come when the police state invades my castle!

Should I go for the 24.8" [wikipedia.org] calibre one or the smaller calibre, but faster firing one [wikipedia.org] ?

Yes the cops need due process. No, there's no reason for pot to be illegal. Yes, it should be legal to blast to hell an unidentified intruder who busts into your house even if they later turn out to be cops, since you had no way of knowing and yes, that's a great way to get either killed on the spot or suffer a mysterious accident in custody.

Re:Unwarranted police trespass? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828839)

That's not how castle defense works. Castle defense states that you have no duty to retreat not that you can just shoot trespassers. It's linked to self defense and there is no self defense of property. The interloper would actually have to be threatening you with gross bodily harm or imminent death. An illegal search (if found to be by the SCOTUS) is neither.

Warrant for looking at your house with IR? (3, Interesting)

joostje (126457) | about 2 years ago | (#41828055)

same as they need a warrant to use a thermal imaging device to search for grow houses

Really? I see you are right [wikipedia.org] , but that does sound strange to me, living in the Netherlands. Here it's a standard way for the police to track down the growers (even though selling small quantities is half-legal here).

Re:Warrant for looking at your house with IR? (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41828381)

It's a difficult problem in the US. Although marijuana is illegal here it is by far the number one cash crop [drugscience.org] in the US - ahead of wheat, barley, corn, soybeans and everything else. It is also one of our largest imports and a significant portion of our balance of international trade. Somehow we have not learned the lessons of prohibition. [wikipedia.org]

I don't care for the product myself but man, this is crazy.

Re:Warrant for looking at your house with IR? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828801)

If it was legal the price would drop significantly because the risk in dealing would be removed, and it probably wouldn't be the biggest cash crop anymore.

Re:Warrant for looking at your house with IR? (1)

ralatalo (673742) | about 2 years ago | (#41828407)

My memory of that ruling is a little fuzzy but I believe (but could be wrong) that the ruling was basically if the police using something (equipment) which is something the ordinary people have ready access to then no warrant was required.. ie, if they used a common telescope or binoculars and saw something it could be used, but at the time thermal imaging or low flying photos (or observation) from helicopter or plane was considered a governmental (as in only they could do it due to the resources) search and therefore required a warrant.

That (if my memory is correct) was the test that allowed the police to claim http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_view_doctrine [wikipedia.org] when they happened to smell or see something that was really in 'plain view' while preventing the police from claiming plain view for every new search that could be performed remotely.

Better have a a warrent or what? (5, Interesting)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 2 years ago | (#41828069)

Seriously, and cops come onto your property with a dog, and don't have a warrant, what are you going to do? If you shoot them, they'll shoot you. If you sue them, you'll lose. If you put up with it it, well, that's what you'll have to do.

It's rigged against you. Everything is. In Britain (at least England & Wales) a cop has never been found guilty of illegally killing someone during the course of their job. So, if you want a license to kill, just join an English police force. But in most other places (including the USA and Australia), cops also literally get away with murder.

And you think that a little bit of searching without a warrant is going to bother them? Even if the case against a suspect is thrown out because the evidence was collected illegally, the filth involved will not have any sanctions against them. Think about that. They can bust down your door, shoot your dog, and plant drugs, with no repercussions.

And no use for recreational drugs? So no alcohol? You don't smoke a ciggie every now and again? Or a pipe or a cigar? (Personally I don't use illegal drugs, but that's only 'cause I'm too lazy to seek them out. If they were on sale down at the local bottlo along with the whisky, brandy and fine liqueurs I'd buy some.)

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 2 years ago | (#41828095)

Also, the summary is a bit over the top. This isn't about dogs being used on private property without a warrant; this is about a dog being outside, on public property, indicating that it can smell drugs inside, and then a warrant being obtained based on that "evidence". Which the article is (rightly in my humble opinion) linking to using thermal-imaging devices form outside a house without a warrant. What if fancy particle detectors could be used in the same way? So, no dog, just more technology? Can the police legally use a "smell-o-meter" to detect if there are drugs in a house, even if they don't have a warrant?

Personally I'm always in favor of less power for the police, and more power for the people. (I'm also strongly in favor of capital punishment for politicians.)

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#41828129)

Personally I'm always in favor of less power for the police, and more power for the people. (I'm also strongly in favor of capital punishment for politicians.)

You forgot the lawyers. With patent/copyright ones as a special case.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#41828151)

So they question is does an alert from a dog constitute evidence strong enough to meet the probal cause standard? What if I come up with a method to detect drugs or anything else that is utter bullshit? I have this rock that when released will fall towards the earth if there is pot near by, well look drop like a stone. I had better search every house on the block and pay down all the attractive women just to be safe.

Personally I am not optimistic, this court has not adopted rigors eviduciary requirements in its recent rulings on similar issues last year

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (2)

jeti (105266) | about 2 years ago | (#41828303)

Obviously, you don't use a rock, you use a wand [bbc.co.uk] . It works - even if it doesn't work - by giving you a justification to search any car you want.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (2)

ralatalo (673742) | about 2 years ago | (#41828415)

The key component is "plain view', thermal enhanced imaging is not plain view, and trained dogs are not plain smell. If the officer can smell your pot without a dog, you will still have issues.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#41828887)

>I'm also strongly in favor of capital punishment for politicians.

You mean entering politics should be a capital crime ? I could get behind that idea...

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828193)

And no use for recreational drugs? So no alcohol? You don't smoke a ciggie every now and again? Or a pipe or a cigar? (Personally I don't use illegal drugs, but that's only 'cause I'm too lazy to seek them out. If they were on sale down at the local bottlo along with the whisky, brandy and fine liqueurs I'd buy some.)

Even most fundamentalists who avoid alcohol and tobacco for religious reasons still use caffeine recreationally. (Strict Mormons being a conspicuous exception.)

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828349)

I had a friend who was a "strict mormon". He'd drink Mountain Dew, but only when he had a headache. It was apparently okay if it was for a medical reason. He seemed to have a lot of headaches.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828645)

Probably from all that Mountain Dew.

Well, OK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828207)

... and plant drugs,...

Well, if they also plant some Jalapeños for the inevitable munchies, I could handle the illegal planting.

Do you think I could get them to bring some pizza, too?

Never mind, I'll just call 911 and ask.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828263)

Police in mainland Britain do not carry firearms by default. The police do have access to lethal weaponry, but it's only carried in airports or in response to reports of armed crime.

Wikipedia has a list of people killed by police in the UK. If you discount the ones that happened in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, it has a grand total of 15 people killed by police since 1920.

I do not feel scared by that number.

It wasn't like this for most of American history (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 2 years ago | (#41828281)

It's rigged against you. Everything is. In Britain (at least England & Wales) a cop has never been found guilty of illegally killing someone during the course of their job. So, if you want a license to kill, just join an English police force. But in most other places (including the USA and Australia), cops also literally get away with murder.

In almost every jurisdiction in the US, the police were bound in their arrest and use of force powers to what the legislature authorized. Anything outside of that was kidnapping and/or illegal use of force up to murder. Citizens could lawfully shoot dead a cop who came onto their property, broke the 4th amendment and then began to wave their firearm at the homeowner who ordered them off their property.

But then the same forces that have been trying to eradicate private firearm ownership in the anglosphere decided that it would be better to have private citizens have **only** the theoretical protection of the courts than any right to use force to defend themselves from criminal acts by the police. Those of us who aren't stupid know that this invariably means that the citizen will be defending themselves from trumped up charges, not getting the cop held responsible.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41828305)

So, if you want a license to kill, just join an English police force.

That's some pretty strong hyperbole there, given the number of police caused deaths.

That said, they *do* get away with murder, and the other police always get away with successfully perverting the course of justice, even when overwhelming evidence to the contrary appears, like a video taken by a tourist and posted from abroad.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828345)

He also doesn't have use for caffine in his coffee or tea. This man has no use for pleasure in general, I suspect he is a robot.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 2 years ago | (#41828453)

In Britain (at least England & Wales) a cop has never been found guilty of illegally killing someone during the course of their job. So, if you want a license to kill, just join an English police force.

And here I was, believing the concept of having "00" in front of your spy code were mere fiction...

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#41828945)

>And here I was, believing the concept of having "00" in front of your spy code were mere fiction...

Real world: it is and it isn't.
There aren't any spies like old Bond - but on occasion the real spies (who are basically professional bribe-payers mostly attached to embassies) come across situations that merit immediate covert paramilitary action.
The spies do not engage in this. They pass it up the chain. Officially the minister of defence makes the decision - in practise he probably wouldn't dare to do so without a rubber-stamp from the prime minister- but once the order is given - the bond-style stuff do happen by people trained in them.
That is trained pistol shots, with additional traning in things like scuba diving and urban military manuevers. But not any part of the intelligence services- the special forces divisions of the armed forces.
In other words - the military operations are engaged in by the military - on request from the intelligence services.
Real spies never carry a gun.

Re:Better have a a warrent or what? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41828865)

If a police officer is already on your property with a dog, you've allowed things to get too far. It's is extremely unlikely (Read: won't ever happen) that the first contact with the police will be with a dog unit. They are called as part of an on-going search or investigation, instigated by other constables.

If you're busily chatting to PC Plod over a cup of tea in your living room and happen to have left your bong on the kitchen table, you can expect a dog to turn up pretty quick. The mistake you made was allowing an officer into your home without a warrant in the first place.

Secondly, if there is a dog in front of your home on public property and they smell drugs, you need to invest in some better draftproofing. Your heating bills must be enormous in winter.

Thirdly, search the internet for dog handler prompting and false positives.

Where to draw the line (5, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41828071)

As much as I find it hard to motivate myself to defend the police, it isn't up to them to set the law or decide which laws they decide to enforce. Your government, and the general population, deserve the blame for anything wrong with that.

As to whether getting a warrant based on a sniffer dog is right. It really is hard to say; personally I think there should be a standard of a reasonable expectation of privacy but that becomes very hard to define. If a police officer overheard a conversation about bomb making through an open window when passing should it not be investigated? How about a large quantity of peroxide bottles left next to a bin visible at the side of the house. If a dog trained to detect explosives goes batshit crazy outside of a house should it be ignored? Most people accept that things that can be seen or heard from public property aren't private; how about if they are only visible/audible if using advanced equipment and manipulation (to for example filter sound). Is a smell emanating from a property supposed to be ignored? I doubt the police officer who ignored a strong burning smell and left someone to die would be praised.

Re:Where to draw the line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828135)

The problem with this is police unions directly lobby congress and state reps to hold these kinds of laws on the books. So you can't say "It's the congress critters, not the police making the laws" because that is bullshit.

Re:Where to draw the line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828217)

As much as I find it hard to motivate myself to defend the police, it isn't up to them to set the law or decide which laws they decide to enforce. Your government, and the general population, deserve the blame for anything wrong with that...

What a complete load of bullshit.

There are rules and regulations where you work, and you may work for a public company that I am a shareholder in.

That doesn't mean I'm going to dictate what you make next as a product, or when you release it, or how much you charge, nor does it mean I get to dictate when you take your coffee and lunch breaks, or when you get to prioritize taking a shit during the workday. That's called telling you how to do your job.

...in the exact same way that we don't to tell cops or their sheriffs which laws to enforce, or when to enforce them, or how. That's called telling them how to do their job. And no, we don't get a say, no matter how much you want to believe in the Constitution.

And if you still have a hard time believing all this, then tell me...when was the last time you personally had involvement in making something illegal? That's the biggest laugh here, that you actually think we have a say anymore in making the rules and/or the laws. What the fuck do you think corporations pay lobbyists to do? They don't exactly stand around and do nothing and collect a six-figure salary like the lawmakers they're manipulating.

Re:Where to draw the line (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41828559)

What a complete load of bullshit.

No it isn't and frankly pretending that the police force is just like any old business is naive at best.

I don't want the police deciding what people can or can't get into trouble for. For all the whining you do about the lack of democratic process in government it isn't like just handing control over the matter to the police directly somehow makes it more accountable. The people, via the government, should decide what is or isn't legal; the police should, within the bounds of the law, enforce those laws; and the courts should decide appropriate sanction for those who break them. Trying to merge these roles because you can't think of a way to fix them individually is only going to make things worse.

Re:Where to draw the line (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41828313)

it isn't up to them to set the law or decide which laws they decide to enforce.

The hell it isnt. The police are moral actors and "just following orders" is not and has never been an acceptable excuse.

Reasonable doubt (2)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 2 years ago | (#41828081)

If the police are already in the house, searching, do they not need a warrant for that or were they invited in? If there is reasonable doubt why should the police not be perfectly within their rights to use a dog with a nose for drugs? after all, these dogs get it right the vast majority of the times. This was not some draconian misuse of power. the police were not abusing some guy because they thought he had a joint. A suspected drug dealer it says. Turns out he is a drug dealer that is now trying his best to get off on a technicality. Police also use sniffer dogs in public places to search for bombs as well as drugs and really, most of them give a great public service for yous and mine.

As good as lie detectors? (0)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#41828083)

Aren't drug sniffing dogs just about as reliable and scientific as lie detectors? With nothing other than the 'trained' officer's 'informed' opinion about whether the dog found something?

Seems legit.

Re:As good as lie detectors? (1, Troll)

sincewhen (640526) | about 2 years ago | (#41828153)

Exactly.

Dogs with a human handler are too open to abuse. The handler may intentionally or unintentionally signal the dog, so it then indicates, and they then have permission to do a search. If a dog cannot be calibrated, and the accuracy known, it should not be used for law enforcement.

Re:As good as lie detectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828251)

Don't be silly. Lie detectors don't try to please their operators; making them far more scientific than drug sniffing dogs.

Re:As good as lie detectors? (5, Insightful)

pehrs (690959) | about 2 years ago | (#41828785)

Congratulations, this must be one of the more ignorant comments I have seen on Slashdot in a long while.

Dogs have an almost insanely good sense of smell. For a dog to smell a bag of narcotics is about as hard as for you to smell if somebody opened a bottle of ammonia under your nose. The big problem is getting the smell out of your nose.

Training a drug sniffing (or any type of ID dog) involves teaching the dog first to identify a number of substances and then "mark" them. Marking is typically done either by the dog freezing and pointing with the nose, or sitting down. For a dog to be qualified you have a number of tests. Tests here involves the dog having to search 12 people, some of whom who may carry narcotics. Those not carrying narcotics get identical objects to hide on their persons. The handler, and the person holding the object, does not know if it is the real deal or not until after the test. If the dog misses a person, or marks the wrong person, it, and the handler, fails to qualify. And, yes, it's not unusual with a lineup where nobody carries anything.

A similar test often used is when a luggage band at an airport, where the dog must mark the specific bags containing explosives or narcotics. So the dogs and handlers certainly have to prove that they are able both to identify the substance and and that they know when it's not there.

Dogs are not infallible.They get tired, bored and exhausted just like their handlers. But it's not just a matter of a 'trained' officer having an 'opinion' about if the dog found something.

Generally (1)

ProfanityHead (198878) | about 2 years ago | (#41828141)

Having an animal that's just as likely to get excited about smelling my butthole and crotch become an authoritarian figure in any kind of a crime investigation is simply ridiculous.

The defendants should also be allowed to put the dog on the witness stand.

Effective Policing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828161)

the canine, now retired, discovered more than 2.5 tons of marijuana, 80 pounds of cocaine and millions in cash during its career.

I thought those drugs were illegal. Yet there were tons of it out there. The police must be doing a terrible job...

If (0)

JustOK (667959) | about 2 years ago | (#41828183)

If the dogs can smell the drugs, then the drugs must have an effect on them. Them dogs is druggies! and as such should be fired.

Montgomery County PA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828209)

Before he died, Sheriff John Durante's department would regularly parade his drug sniffing dogs along a popular multi-use trail in East Norristown, searching people without probable cause or a warrant.

I no longer live there and don't know if the Montgomery County Sheriff's department still has a policy of conducting illegal, warrantless searches of trail users, but hopefully not.

News for nerds eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828327)

And this relates to technology because?

Already precedence for warrantless ban. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41828365)

As with polygraph, it can be misused by misinterpreting the dog, accidentally or deliberately.

Also, just as with IR cameras, which are passive, too, it should be forbidden to government by a free people sans warrant.

Nice try, potheads (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41828393)

You can try and invent imaginary rights and legal rulings to justify drug use, but at the end of the day, it's dumb.

I would need a lot of convincing to understand why the police would need to get PERMISSION to use IR gear in public to find grow houses (as if the IR signature of your house has some kind of right to privacy): they do it all the time in the UK, and only bikers, gangsters, druggies and idiots would have a problem with it.

Re:Nice try, potheads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828449)

How does an elevated IR signature indicate probable cause that a grow operation is happening? There are thousands of legitimate reasons to keep a house warm, and in fact many people do prefer a warmer home.

I keep my house at 85F in the winter. I suffer from disabling Raynaud's phenomenon and keeping my home warm is the only way for me to function.

Why should I suffer the risk of having a SWAT team barge into my house in the middle of the night because they think I'm keeping my house too warm?

Probable cause means the TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES would lead a reasonable person to conclude that criminal activity is actually taking place. It does not mean "let's find any excuse we can to barge into someone's house in the middle of the night, shoot their dogs (or their children), and play pretend soldier of freedom."

Totality of circumstances means a hell of a lot more than simply measuring the temperature inside the house (where, by the way, there is every expectation of privacy).

Re:Nice try, potheads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828517)

Or have a malfunctioning thermostat.

Re:Nice try, potheads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828585)

Yeah, no. Not a biker, gangster, druggy or idiot here and I want the cops as removed from my presence as possible. If some cop with bad "evidence" claims I'm distributing drugs the ATF can come in, seize all my assets and auction them off (while barring myself or anyone I know from bidding on them) all before I go to trial. I don't want to be anywhere near that mess so I'd rather the cops need more than just "oh, his house was warm" or "the dog smelled something" before that happens.

Re:Nice try, potheads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828637)

And those of us that value our private property rights.

Sounds like God/Universe/Dharma picked the right side of the pond for you to be shat out on as you lack a fundamental understanding of the concepts (as do most on this side unfortunatly) of individual Liberty.

Re:Nice try, potheads (-1, Redundant)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 years ago | (#41828679)

Saying "the UK allows it, so should the US" is the dumbest justification ever. Many of the US constitutional amendments (especially the 4th amendment) were written SPECIFICALLY to avoid the same kind of abuses of power that the British kingdom was (and still is) famous for.

I would have agreed with you, dogs don't testify (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41828763)

I might have agreed with you until two years ago. That's when a cop who was having a bad week decided that his dog thought he smelled something in my car. After being drtained for two hours in freezing rain as the cop dug all through my car, nothing was found because I don't do drugs. Speaking to the cop two months later, it was clear that the cop, not the dog, decided that he wanted to search my car. Noone could ever prove that because the dog can't testify about what they smelled, or didn't smell. Courts just have the cop's word on how he interpreted the dog's actions.

Nice try, boozer (1, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41828769)

You can try and invent imaginary rights and legal rulings to justify drug use, but at the end of the day, it's dumb.

I would need a lot of convincing to understand why the police would need to get PERMISSION to use IR gear in public to find grow houses (as if the IR signature of your house has some kind of right to privacy): they do it all the time in the UK, and only bikers, gangsters, druggies and idiots would have a problem with it.

First off: All Right Are Imaginary. They're fairly arbitrary as well. Fuck your perception of which "rights" others should have. This is about wasting money on pointless witch-hunts to me. I want them to get a permit before they spend my tax money to fly their helicopters at night over my house while they're distracted by thermal imaging. That permit needs to be issued by a judge after considering evidence that warrants the investigation, not green-lighted based on a whim.

Furthermore: Alcohol is a Drug. Now, let's recall Prohibition. The laws against alcohol made it possible for Mobs to make mad cash. When's the last time you bought booze from a gangster? It's not profitable for them to sell it... It doesn't take a brain scientist to figure out that laws against the substances that the general public find acceptable for recreational use create a big problem.

The government doesn't want to end the war on drugs. The War on Terror will never end either. They want the power to do whatever the fuck they want -- Which means turning your country into a Dystopia like the old USSR. See also: Homeland Security & TSA. Blindly trusting your government to use restraint with absolute power is fucking moronic.

Re:Nice try, potheads (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | about 2 years ago | (#41828817)

Since I don't do illegal recreational drugs, I don't need to justify it and I don't care if the idiots who do justify it or not. Whether or not cops get to stomp around my home tearing the place apart because fido scratched its ear (or officer plod says fido scratched its ear) is a whole 'nother question.

USA Land of Crime (2, Interesting)

terminal.dk (102718) | about 2 years ago | (#41828457)

In the rest of the world, justice comes before anything else. No matter how evidence is obtained, it is still evidence, and will be used in court.
In the US, if an unskilled policeman makes a small mistake, all evidence will be thrown down the sink, and the criminals who would be convicted on that evidence in every other country of the world, will walk free. I don't understand this protection of people where there is evidence that they are criminals.

Re:USA Land of Crime (5, Insightful)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 2 years ago | (#41828509)

It's pretty simple, really. Throwing out evidence that was illegally acquired is the only tool available to ensure that evidence is not illegally acquired. After a team of police officers, investigators and lawyers have been working on a case, putting their efforts into it, they do not want to have the case fall apart, so there is, theoretically, some peer pressure on them not to screw up the evidence.

Without this incentive not to break the law, we would have police going house to house, knocking on doors, busting down the doors that don't open to them, and performing full-house searches, just looking for something, anything, to create criminal cases on. We had this in our pre-revolutionary state, and our Constitution was written to prevent it, amongst other abuses.

Re:USA Land of Crime (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41828527)

In the rest of the world, people generally live under oppressive regimes who don't think twice about breaking their own laws to obtain or manufacture evidence to convict people they perceive as enemies of the State.

In the USA, the rights of the individual are protected unlike anywhere else in the world. Your attitude indicates you have never lived under a free system, because if you had, your own opinion would be repugnant to you.

I would rather see 100 guilty men go free than see one innocent person convicted, and that is precisely the way our system is designed - to place the importance of preserving an innocent man's freedom above the importance of taking away a guilty man's freedom.

Re:USA Land of Crime (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828655)

Your attitude indicates you have never lived under a free system, because if you had, your own opinion would be repugnant to you.

No, he just hasn't lived in a country as screwed up as the USA, to understand why such protections are necessary there.

It works to keep police and DA in line 99% (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41828729)

That rule is pretty effective because it uses the motivations of the police (to get the bad guys) to keep thrn from violating the rights of citizens. There are a few bad cops, of course, but 99% are careful to not do an illegal search precisely because they want the evidence to be admissable. Cops and DAs don't talk about what's right and wrong, they are careful about what's admissable and what's not.

God Bless America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828543)

Land of the free

Smoking a j ,police walks by ,door kicked in ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828591)

Now door can get kicked in if your smoking pot in your own house.man what's this country coming too

Plain Sight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41828609)

Isn't there a law in America that knowledge of evidence obtained which is in Plain Sight is admissable, and can be used to obtain a search warrant?

I've never been to the USA, and to be honest have little interest in going there, so my knowledge of US law is very third hand...

If Plain Sight evidence is "in", then isn't it ok to obtain evidence from a detector dog passing in the street? How about an electronic drug or explosive detector which is in a public place? The foil hatted civil libertarians would hate it, but LEGALLY isn't this an angle for the cops?

I have no use for recreational drugs (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 2 years ago | (#41828779)

I have no use for recreational drugs

Why do we feel compelled to pre-emptively deny allegations? Why do absolute shits feel compelled make false allegations? Why do we let us be fooled by false allegations? Even geeks -the ones seeking facts or accepting them anyway- are sometimes fooled by false allegations...

Solution: own a dog as a pet (2)

epp_b (944299) | about 2 years ago | (#41828837)

Dogs are so endlessly fascinated with each other, the drug sniffers would be too enthralled and distracted to find anything ;)

Joking aside, the court should most definitely conclude that such unwarranted searches are unconstitutional. It may be an extremely small victory, but it's a start.

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