Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of the respondent.
Argument: Acting on a tip, police conducted a warrantless “canine sniff” with a drug detection dog of the front door of the defendant’s residence and obtained a search warrant based on the dog’s alert. Marijuana was found growing in the defendant’s home. The Florida Supreme Court held that the “sniff test” was itself a search requiring probable cause. Amici argue that persons have a heightened expectation of privacy in their homes and that dog sniffs are highly intrusive, since the sniff can reveal much more than the mere presence or absence of contraband and is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Absent exigent circumstances, such a suspicionless search of a home is inherently unreasonable. Further, allowing suspicionless dog sniffs of houses would permit indiscriminate sweeps of residential neighborhoods, a practice some law enforcement officials have already begun to employ.