probable cause

Missouri v. McNeely

Tyler G. McNeely was arrested for drunk driving on October 3, 2010. After McNeely refused a breathalyzer and blood tests, Officer Mark Winder, acting without a warrant, directed hospital personnel to remove blood from McNeely. McNeely asserts that this action violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The State of Missouri responds that Winder’s action was constitutional because it fell into the “exigent circumstances” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement because the blood evidence was likely to be destroyed during the time it would take to obtain a warrant. McNeely also argues that bodily integrity is the core of the Fourth Amendment, that warrantless blood draws are unnecessary because other states have required warrants for blood draws and have not encountered difficulties enforcing DUI laws, and that judges and prosecutors overwhelmingly support warrants for blood draws. Missouri responds that blood testing is the best method of obtaining probative, relevant evidence of drunk driving, that blood draws typically involve little risk and pain, and that because alcohol naturally dissipates in a person’s bloodstream, evidence of drunk driving is continually destroyed.

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties: 

Whether a law enforcement officer may obtain a nonconsensual and warrantless blood sample from a drunk driver under the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement based upon the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream.

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Missouri v. McNeely

Unpublished

Tyler G. McNeely was arrested for drunk driving on October 3, 2010. After McNeely refused a breathalyzer and blood tests, Officer Mark Winder, acting without a warrant, directed hospital personnel to remove blood from McNeely. McNeely asserts that this action violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The State of Missouri responds that Winder’s action was constitutional because it fell into the “exigent circumstances” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement because the blood evidence was likely to be destroyed during the time it would take to obtain a warrant. McNeely also argues that bodily integrity is the core of the Fourth Amendment, that warrantless blood draws are unnecessary because other states have required warrants for blood draws and have not encountered difficulties enforcing DUI laws, and that judges and prosecutors overwhelmingly support warrants for blood draws. Missouri responds that blood testing is the best method of obtaining probative, relevant evidence of drunk driving, that blood draws typically involve little risk and pain, and that because blood naturally dissipates in a person’s bloodstream, evidence of drunk driving is continually destroyed.

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties: 

Whether a law enforcement officer may obtain a nonconsensual and warrantless blood sample from a drunk driver under the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement based upon the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream.

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Florida v. Jardines (11-564)

Court below: 

After receiving an anonymous tip that Joelis Jardines’ home was being used to grow marijuana, Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) officers conducted a warrantless surveillance of Jardines’ home. During the surveillance, a drug detection dog sniffed the exterior of the home and alerted to a smell of marijuana at the front door. Based on this positive alert, among other indications of marijuana production, the officers were granted a search warrant. The search confirmed that the house was being used as a marijuana grow house and Jardines was charged with drug trafficking and grand theft for stealing electricity. Jardines successfully moved to suppress evidence of the dog sniff outside his home by arguing that the sniff constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. The Florida Third District Court of Appeal reversed and held that the canine sniff was not a Fourth Amendment search. The Florida Supreme Court ultimately reversed the appellate court’s decision and held that a dog sniff is a substantial government intrusion into the sanctity of the home and constitutes a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The State of Florida then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. This decision could affect a crucial method used by DEA agents and police officers to detect and seize illegal substances and will clarify the right held by individuals such as Jardines in preventing invasions of privacy. 

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties: 

Whether a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause?

Issue

Whether police violated the Fourth Amendment by taking a dog that had been trained to alert officers of the presence of illegal substances to a house where the officers suspected, without probable cause, that marijuana was being grown.

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broken copy of Florida v. Harris

Unpublished
Court below: 

Officer Wheetley stopped Clayton Harris’s truck for expired tags and searched the vehicle after his drug-detection dog alerted to the driver-side door handle. Officer Wheetley recovered precursors to methamphetamine, and at trial Harris alleged that Officer Wheetley did not have probable cause, or a reasonable basis, to search and violated his Fourth Amendment rights. On appeal, Harris argues that training alone cannot establish a dog’s reliability because there are no standard certification standards for drug-detection dogs, and dogs are likely to be influenced by outside factors that could affect their reliability. The State of Florida asserts that certification of a dog should be sufficient to prove reliability, and to provide adequate basis for a seach. This decision implicates concerns of individuals’ right to privacy in their possessions and raises concerns of costs associated with increased evidentiary burdens in drug possession cases, which could hamper the states’ ability to prosecute drug offenders.

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties: 

Whether the Florida Supreme Court has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with the established Fourth Amendment precedent of this Court by holding that an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband is insufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle?

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Issue

Did the Florida Supreme Court err in creating an additional evidentiary standard that the state must satisfy before an alert from a well-trained drug-detection dog may suffice to establish probable cause?

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Additional Resources: 

E. Duncan Getchell, Jr. & Michael Brady, Florida Supreme Court Erred in Drug Dog Ruling, JURIST-Hotline, Apr. 23, 2012, http://jurist.org/hotline/2012/04/getchell-brady-florida-canines.php.

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Florida v. Harris (11-817)

Court below: 

Officer Wheetley stopped Clayton Harris’s truck for expired tags and searched the vehicle after his drug-detection dog alerted to the driver-side door handle. Officer Wheetley recovered precursors to methamphetamine, and at trial Harris alleged that Officer Wheetley did not have probable cause, or a reasonable basis, to search and violated his Fourth Amendment rights. On appeal, Harris argues that training alone cannot establish a dog’s reliability because there are no standard certification standards for drug-detection dogs, and dogs are likely to be influenced by outside factors that could affect their reliability. The State of Florida asserts that certification of a dog should be sufficient to prove reliability, and to provide adequate basis for a search. This decision implicates concerns of individuals’ right to privacy in their possessions and raises concerns of costs associated with increased evidentiary burdens in drug possession cases, which could hamper the states’ ability to prosecute drug offenders.

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties: 

Whether the Florida Supreme Court has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with the established Fourth Amendment precedent of this Court by holding that an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband is insufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle?

 

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Issue

Did the Florida Supreme Court err in creating an additional evidentiary standard that the state must satisfy before an alert from a well-trained drug-detection dog may suffice to establish probable cause?

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Edited by: 
Additional Resources: 

E. Duncan Getchell, Jr. & Michael Brady, Florida Supreme Court Erred in Drug Dog Ruling, JURIST-Hotline, Apr. 23, 2012, http://jurist.org/hotline/2012/04/getchell-brady-florida-canines.php.

 

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