Sunday, October 28, 2012

Police Dogs: Constitutional or Not?

There will be a case going before the Supreme Court dealing with the issue of whether police can use dogs to "sniff" out drugs from outside people's homes or even in airports.

Usually, the police are not allowed to check whether a person is carrying something illegal unless the police are reasonably suspicious that the person has something illegal.  However, many people have argued that police dogs in airports randomly sniff innocent and unsuspicious people.

In the case mentioned in this article, a police dog was brought to a person's house and sniffed from outside and determined there were drugs inside.  The police then obtained a court order to enter the house and arrested the person.  However, a judge threw the case out saying that the police had no constitutional right to use the dog to sniff outside of a person's house.  Basically the judge was saying that people have a right to their privacy and that you just can't walk around neighborhoods with dogs sniffing people's homes for drugs.

1)  How do you feel about the dogs at airports that sniff for drugs?  Do you think this is necessary?  Is this right?

2)  Would you agree with the judge who threw this case out?  Why/why not?

3)  Many people are upset when New York City police officers stop them from entering the subway system in order to search their bags.  Many people feel this is a "random" search which violates our rights.  How do you feel about this policy?


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