tagged w/ probable cause
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect's property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search, a decision which may limit how investigators use dogs' sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell.
The high court split 5-4 on the decision to uphold the Florida Supreme Court's ruling throwing out evidence seized in the search of Joelis Jardines' Miami-area house. That search was based on an alert by Franky the drug dog from outside the closed front door.
Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government's gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage.
"The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home," Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority. "And the officers here had all four of their feet and all four of their companion's, planted firmly on that curtilage — the front porch is the classic example of an area intimately associated with the life of the home."
He was joined in his opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
The four justices who dissented were Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Samuel Alito.
It's not trespassing when a mail carrier comes on a porch for a brief period, Alito said. And that includes "police officers who wish to gather evidence against an occupant," Alito said. "According to the court, however, the police officer in this case, Detective Bartelt, committed a trespass because he was accompanied during his otherwise lawful visit to the front door of the respondent's house by his dog, Franky. Where is the authority evidencing such a rule?"
Alito also said that the court's ruling stretches expectations of privacy too far. "A reasonable person understands that odors emanating from a house may be detected from locations that are open to the public, and a reasonable person will not count on the strength of those odors remaining within the range that, while detectable by a dog, cannot be smelled by a human."
It was not the dog that was the problem, Scalia said, "but the behavior that here involved use of the dog."
"We think a typical person would find it 'a cause for great alarm' to find a stranger snooping about his front porch with or without a dog," Scalia said. "The dissent would let the police do whatever they want by way of gathering evidence so long as they stay on the base path, to use a baseball analogy — so long as they 'stick to the path that is typically used to approach a front door, such as a paved walkway.' From that vantage point they can presumably peer into the house with binoculars with impunity. That is not the law, as even the state concedes."
Thousands of dogs are used by governmental organizations around the United States to track criminals, sniff out illegal items like explosives at airports and search wreckage sites like bombed buildings and hurricane or earthquake-destroyed homes for injured people.
On the morning of Dec. 5, 2006, Miami-Dade police detectives and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents set up surveillance outside a house south of the city after getting an anonymous tip that it might contain a marijuana growing operation. Detective Douglas Bartelt arrived with Franky and the two went up to the house, where Franky quickly detected the odor of pot at the base of the front door and sat down as he was trained to do.
That sniff was used to get a search warrant from a judge. The house was searched and its lone occupant, Jardines, was arrested trying to escape out the back door. Officers pulled 179 live marijuana plants from the house, with an estimated street value of more than $700,000.
Jardines was charged with marijuana trafficking and grand theft for stealing electricity needed to run the highly sophisticated operation. He pleaded not guilty and his attorney challenged the search, claiming Franky's sniff outside the front door was an unconstitutional law enforcement intrusion into the home.
The trial judge agreed and threw out the evidence seized in the search, but that was reversed by an intermediate appeals court. In April a divided Florida Supreme Court sided with the original judge.
That ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court's decision, the latest in a long line of disputes about whether the use of dogs to find drugs, explosives and other illegal or dangerous substances violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. The court has OK'd drug dog sniffs in several other major cases. Two of those involved dogs that detected drugs during routine traffic stops. In another, a dog hit on drugs in airport luggage. A fourth involved a drug-laden package in transit.
The difference in this case, the court said, is that Franky was used at a home....
http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Court-Drug-dog-sniff-is-unconstitutional-search-4385197.phpThe Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs... more
1 month ago
VIDEO WARNING: Two women have brought forth a lawsuit after they were subjected to a roadside cavity search by a Texas DPS Trooper. The raw video of the search, released by their lawyers, contains explicit language and the content of the video may be disturbing to some viewers.
The female Texas trooper who performed a roadside cavity search on two Irving women will be terminated according to the Department of Public Safety.
The two women from Irving are suing Trooper David Farrell, Trooper Kelley Helleson and the director of the Department of Public Safety for what they call an unconstitutional search without probable cause.
On Tuesday DPS spokesman Tom Vinger released the following statement: "The Director of DPS has made a preliminary determination to terminate Kelly Helleson. By policy, she will be given the opportunity to meet with the Director before the decision is finalized."
Helleson was suspended with pay on Dec. 19. Farrell was suspended with pay effective Dec. 21 pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.VIDEO WARNING: Two women have brought forth a lawsuit after they were subjected to a... more
As we warned all along, airport tyranny is coming to your door...
As we warned at the beginning of the year, X-ray body scanners currently being used and abused in airports across the world are set to hit the streets as American Science & Engineering reveals that “more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents” have been sold to government agencies.
In January, we divulged how the ultimate end use of the body scanners would not be limited to airports, and that they were going to be rolled out on the streets as mobile units that would scan vehicles at checkpoints as well as individuals and crowds attending public events.
Dutch police announced that they were developing a mobile scanner that would “see through people’s clothing and look for concealed weapons” and that it would be used “as an alternative to random body searches in high risk areas”.
The device would also be used from a distance on groups of people “and mass scans on crowds at events such as football matches.”
The plans mirrored leaked documents out of the UK Home Office three years prior, which revealed that authorities in the UK were working on proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”.
Now, according to a Forbes report, backscatter x-ray vision devices mounted on trucks are already being deployed inside the United States to scan passing individuals and vehicles in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment.
American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold many of the devices to U.S. law enforcement agencies, who are already using them on the streets for “security” purposes.
“Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,” points out Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “Even airport scans are typically used only as a secondary security measure. If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.”
Watch a video demonstration of the device below.
“The TSA’s official policy dictates that full-body scans must be viewed in a separate room from any guards dealing directly with subjects of the scans, and that the scanners won’t save any images,” states the report. “Just what sort of safeguards might be in place for AS&E’s scanning vans isn’t clear, given that the company won’t reveal just which law enforcement agencies, organizations within the DHS, or foreign governments have purchased the equipment.”
However, as we reported right from the start and as was confirmed earlier this month, federal authorities have been storing checkpoint body scan images all along, proving that their claim that no images could be stored or transmitted was an act of mass public deception in order to grease the skids for the rapid introduction of the devices after the botched and highly suspicious underwear bomber incident.
As we have constantly reiterated, everything that we see unfolding in the airports is eventually designed to be used on the streets. People who had a blasé attitude about the privacy-busting body scanners, behavioral interrogations, and intrusive pat-downs occurring in airports on the basis that they could avoid them by not flying face a rude awakening once all this is in their face on a daily basis.
ody and vehicle scanners are just one tool authorities plan to implement on a widespread basis as part of our deepening decline into a hi-tech militarized police state.
Homeland Security is already implementing technology to be enforced at “security events” which purportedly reads “malintent” on behalf of an individual who passes through a checkpoint. The video below explains how “Future Attribute Screening Technology” (FAST) checkpoints will conduct “physiological” and “behavioral” tests in order to weed out suspected terrorists and criminals.
The clip shows individuals who attend “security events” being led into trailers before they are interrogated as to whether they are terrorists while lie detector-style computer programs analyze their physiological responses. The subjects are asked about their whereabouts, and if they are attempting to smuggle bombs or recording devices into the “expo,” proving that the technology is intended to be used at public events and not just airports. Individuals who do not satisfy the first lie detector-style test are then asked “additional questions”.As we warned all along, airport tyranny is coming to your door...
As we warned at the... more