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Florida v. Jardines

Supreme Court of the United States

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

No. 11-564

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

Police took a drug-sniffing dog to defendant's front porch, resulting in a positive alert for narcotics. The officers obtained a search warrant, found marijuana plants, and charged him with trafficking in cannabis. The Supreme Court of Florida approved a suppression of evidence, finding no probable cause for the Fourth Amendment search, rendering invalid the warrant based upon information gathered in that search. Certiorari was granted.

Overview

Acting on an unverified tip that marijuana was being grown in defendant's home, the officers used a trained police dog to explore the area around the home in hopes of discovering incriminating evidence. They were gathering information in an area belonging to defendant and immediately surrounding his house — its curtilage, which enjoyed protection as part of the home itself. And they gathered that information by physically entering and occupying the area to engage in conduct not explicitly or implicitly permitted by the homeowner. The officers entered the boundaries of the curtilage, the front porch being a classic example of a constitutionally protected area. While an officer not armed with a warrant could approach a home and knock, because any private citizen might do so, introducing a trained police dog to explore the area around the home in hopes of discovering incriminating evidence was something else. There was no customary invitation to do that. That the officers learned what they learned only by physically intruding on defendant's property to gather evidence was enough to establish that a Fourth Amendment search occurred.

Outcome

The Supreme Court of Florida's affirmance of the order suppressing the evidence was affirmed. 5-4 Decision; 1 opinion; 1 concurrence; 1 dissent.

LexisNexis® Headnotes

 

 

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > General Overview

HN1 See U.S. Const. amend. IV.

 

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

HN2  Scope of Protection

The Fourth Amendment establishes a simple baseline. When the Government obtains information by physically intruding on persons, houses, papers, or effects, a "search" within the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment has undoubtedly occurred. Property rights are not the sole measure of Fourth Amendment violations, and while this may add to the baseline, it does not subtract anything from the Fourth Amendment’s protections when the Government does engage in a physical intrusion of a constitutionally protected area.

 

Criminal Law & Procedure > Search & Seizure > Expectation of Privacy

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

HN3  Expectation of Privacy

The Fourth Amendment indicates with some precision the places and things encompassed by its protections: persons, houses, papers, and effects. The Fourth Amendment does not, therefore, prevent all investigations conducted on private property; for example, an officer may gather information in what has been called “open fields” — even if those fields are privately owned — because such fields are not enumerated in the Fourth Amendment’s text. But when it comes to the Fourth Amendment, the home is first among equals. At the Fourth Amendment’s very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. This right would be of little practical value if the State’s agents could stand in a home’s porch or side garden and trawl for evidence with impunity; the right to retreat would be significantly diminished if the police could enter a man’s property to observe his repose from just outside the front window.

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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.