An attorney for the petitioner (State of Florida) cited the case of Florida v. Riley as being similar to this case. In the Riley case, officers used a helicopter to do surveillance of a house and observed marijuana. In the Jardines case, a narcotics detection canine is used to smell the odor of marijuana that is being pumped out of the residence. The defendant knew the smell was being pumped out and was attempting to mask the smell with mothballs. The attorney stated, “People don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy, this Court has held, in things that they knowingly expose to the public, even in the home.” The attorney went on to say, “And I think, here, one way to resolve it is to say people who live in grow houses with a distinct odor of marijuana, who know that that is being pumped out into the street because of air conditioning that they need to run the grow houses, there is no invasion in their – in their expectation of privacy when either a man or a dog, when lawfully present on the property, uses their God-given senses to detect that.” I certainly agree with this attorney, who further strengthens my opinion that if a police officer is lawfully present, then so is their canine partner.
The transcript was seventy-eight pages long; as you can image there was a lot more discussed in the transcript than what I have discussed above. The Supreme Court justices will be making a ruling on this case sometime in 2013. At that time I will discuss the final ruling and how it affects you.
One last point I would like to make…yearly we have required in-service training, which typically includes legal updates. Those legal updates don’t generally include canine issues, but they may. If you’re a canine handler, you should be staying as up to date as you can on all legal issues involving canines. While you’re working, make sure you are staying in compliance with all state laws, case law and the constitution. Our jobs are tough enough without getting more restrictions put on us by the courts.