US court: Drug dog sniff is unconstitutional search

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court says police using a dog to sniff outside a house being used to grow marijuana violated the homeowner's U.S. constitutional rights.

The court voted 5-4 to uphold a court decision throwing out the evidence seized because of Franky the drug-sniffing dog's alert to police.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, says a house and its surroundings are a constitutionally protected area, and the Miami-area homeowner had not given permission for police to use a drug-sniffing dog to look for evidence.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the dissent, saying police did not trespass on the property by coming up to the front door with the dog. Alito also said people cannot expect that odors will not make it outside a house, where they can be detected by dogs.
 

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