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Florida v. Jardines

Supreme Court of the United States

October 31, 2012, Argued; March 26, 2013, Decided

No. 11-564

Opinion

 [*3]  [**1413]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

We consider whether using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner's porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

In 2006, Detective William Pedraja of the Miami-Dade Police Department received an unverified tip that marijuana was being grown in the home of respondent Joelis Jardines. One month later, the department and the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a joint surveillance team to Jardines' home. Detective Pedraja was part of that team. He watched the home for 15 minutes and saw no vehicles in the driveway or activity around the home, and could not see inside because the blinds were drawn. Detective Pedraja then approached Jardines' home accompanied by Detective Douglas Bartelt, a trained canine handler who had just arrived  [*4]  at the scene with his drug-sniffing dog. The dog was trained to detect the scent of marijuana,  [****4] cocaine, heroin, and several other drugs, indicating the presence of any of these substances through particular behavioral changes recognizable by his handler.

Detective Bartelt had the dog on a 6-foot leash, owing in part to the dog's “wild” nature, App. to Pet. for Cert. A-35, and tendency to dart around erratically while searching. As the dog approached Jardines' front porch, he apparently sensed one of the odors he had been trained to detect, and began energetically exploring the area for the strongest point source of  [***500] that odor. As Detective Bartelt explained, the dog “began tracking that airborne odor by . . . tracking back and forth,” engaging in what is called “bracketing,” “back and forth, back and forth.” Id., at A-33 to A-34. Detective Bartelt gave the dog “the full six feet of the leash plus whatever safe distance [he could] give him” to do this--he testified that he needed to give the dog “as much distance as I can.” Id., at A-35. And Detective Pedraja stood back while this was occurring, so that he would not “get knocked over” when the dog was “spinning around trying to find” the source. Id., at A-38.

After sniffing the base of the front door, the dog sat, which is the  [****5] trained behavior upon discovering the odor's strongest point. Detective Bartelt then pulled the dog away from the door and returned to his vehicle. He left the scene after informing Detective Pedraja that there had been a positive alert for narcotics.

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569 U.S. 1 *; 133 S. Ct. 1409 **; 185 L. Ed. 2d 495 ***; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 2542 ****; 81 U.S.L.W. 4209; 24 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 117; 2013 WL 1196577

FLORIDA, Petitioner v. JOELIS JARDINES

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

Jardines v. State, 73 So. 3d 34, 2011 Fla. LEXIS 884 (Fla., 2011)

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

dog, front door, Fourth Amendment, visitor, odors, license, invitation, trespass, detect, police officer, trained, smell, privacy, marijuana, knock, door, front porch, gathering, tracking, imaging, thermal, leash, path, reasonable expectation of privacy, expectation of privacy, physical intrusion, gather evidence, knock and talk, sense of smell, approached

Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Search & Seizure, General Overview, Scope of Protection, Criminal Law & Procedure, Expectation of Privacy, Real Property Law, Torts, Trespass to Real Property, Torts, Premises & Property Liability, Trespass to Real Property, Warrantless Searches, Investigative Stops