Back in early 2013, the Court ruled in two important Fourth Amendment cases involving nosy police dogs. The cases were closely watched because they represented the practical limitations of using the services of these talented drug-sniffing canine cops. In what was a split decision for the dogs, in one case the nine Justices said it was OK for a canine officer to sniff out drugs on his own as part of a traffic stop, but in another case, it was not OK for a dog to sniff out drugs inside a house without a warrant.
Both incidents took part in Florida. In Florida v. Harris, canine officer Aldo was on the scene of a traffic stop when his human partner was refused permission to search a car that was pulled over for a traffic violation. Aldo then alerted to a substance on a car handle, which the Justices upheld as evidence of probable cause for the officer to search within the car. The Justices will hear arguments on January 21 and attempt to sort out the question of how long is too long to let the dogs out – at least at a traffic stop. (National Constitutional Center)