The Court held that contrary to sniff cases of luggage in airports, probing a personal porch with a police pooch’s proboscis portends profound 4th Amendment protections. The Court stated that a sniff test at a private residence “constitutes an intrusive procedure that may expose the resident to public opprobrium, humiliation and embarrassment, and it raises the specter of arbitrary and discriminatory application.” Such invasive and overbearing law enforcement behavior constitutes “a substantial government intrusion into the sanctity of the home” and requires that “the search must be preceded by an evidentiary showing of wrongdoing.”
Interestingly, the court noted that the detective who testified he smelled marijuana after the dog alerted was merely taking his law enforcement cues and guidance from the dog and ostensibly “confirming” what the dog already discovered. Jardines represents a difficult day for law enforcement—they can no longer rely on a dog’s superior investigative skills when seeking to trample the Constitution on their way into the living rooms of private citizens. Probable cause, not probable claws, is required to violate the sanctity of a personal residence.
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