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Harris/Jardines Questions, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 772

Essay

Part One

  • The issue of law considered by Kagan in this case is whether or not a drug detection dog’s alert during a traffic stop can be considered probable cause to search a vehicle.

(a) Kagan’s remarks on probable cause are significant because she seeks to remind us of what the concept actually means, or should mean, on a practical level. Her remarks remind the court that probable cause consists of an aggregate of different assessments made on a basis of reasonable suspicion. She reminds the court that FSSCt has used detailed and specific tests to try and determine something which, by its nature, is fluid and varies with circumstance.

(b) This remark is significant because it implies that a rookie dog could never be classed as providing reliable evidence in a case of this kind. Use of a rookie dog would automatically rule out the argument of probable cause.

  • False negatives is where something is not found due to the dog not being aware of something which was present, and not alerting its handlers. A false positive, on the other hand, is where the dog may have indicated the presence of drugs, but none were found.
  • Her discussion of the concepts is centred on how often they can both occur in the field, which would make assessing a dog’s performance almost impossible, if that assessment were to be based on its performance in field situations. Instead, a more reliable and scientific assessment is provided in studies away from the field.
  • Firstly, she states that a court can base at least some of its assessment of a dog’s reliability based on training tests and certification rather than how it has performed in the field. In certain cases, though, it may be necessary to examine how a dog has performed under certain circumstances. A defendant should be allowed to question the reliability of a dog. A defendant can question the effectiveness of the relevant training programs. A court can give this evidence the weight it thinks is appropriate. A probable cause case involving a dog should be treated the same as any other probable cause issue. An inflexible list approach is not sensible in a case like this.
  • Kagan reacted to the expired training certificate by highlighting the role that continued training and practise played in maintaining Aldo’s skills. Secondly, although Aldo did not find any drugs in the car, he was still acting and reacting to the presence of odors as he was trained to do, with those odors having resulted from the drugs manufacturing processes carried out by the defendant.
  • & 8. Harris never voiced his concerns regarding this matter in the original trial court, and so cannot do so here.

Part Two

  • On December 6, 2006, Detective Detective Pedraja and a drug task force that included several agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, visited the Jardines home at 7am. No activity was detected in the house at the time. Pedraja smelled marijuana whilst on the front porch of the property, and also noticed that the air conditioning was running constantly. He left to secure a warrant while his support team secured the area. After a warrant was obtained, the property was searched and found to be a grow house. Jardines, the suspect, was arrested as he attempted to flee. The dog handler and his animal departed the scene before Pedraja knocked at the door, according to one account, while others state that they were there for around ten minutes before departing for other work.

(a) Is a dog sniff of a house a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause?

Can a sniff test be conducted without a warrant?

Is such a sniff test a contravention of Fourth Amendment rights to private home free from unreasonable government interference.

(b) This difference in the questions considered is due to the different legal statuses of the courts concerned, and the different level of legal precedent required.

  • A dog sniff in a property which detects the presence of contraband is not to be considered a search.

A dog is not a sophisticated technological piece of equipment, all it has to do is breathe, therefore no warrant is required for this kind of procedure.

(a) This is because a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to illegal drugs. Possessing contraband is not a protected privacy interest.

(b) This therefore means that a dog sniff is not a search, as the possession of illegal drugs is not covered by the Fourth Amendment.

  • The Us Supreme Court has defined a search as occurring when the person concerned expects privacy in the thing being searched. This is qualified by the statement that society believes that that expectation of privacy is reasonable.
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