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LEGAL REVIEW (R)
|Vol. 40 No. 3||May / June 2011|
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Highlights of This Issue
United States Supreme Court
Federal and State Decisions
United States Supreme Court
Arrest, Search and Seizure
Crimes; Evidence; Trial Issues
Civil Liability/Personnel Law
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Special BulletinSpecial Bulletin: Special Bulletin: Search; Preparing a Vehicle for a Dog Sniff Is Not a Fourth Amendment Search; Case of First Impression
People v. Bartelt, No. 107276 (Ill. 2011).
After a lawful traffic stop, a police officer performed a set-up procedure for a dog sniff, which entailed ordering the driver, defendant, to roll up her truck’s windows and turn the ventilation system’s blowers on high before a second officer conducted a canine sniff of the exterior of her truck. The dog alerted on both doors of the truck, and a subsequent search of the truck resulted in discovery of drugs. The issue in this case was whether the officers’ actions in ordering defendant to roll up her windows and turn the blowers on high before conducting a dog sniff of the truck’s exterior constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled it did not.
“This seems to be an issue of first impression nationwide because the parties have not cited, nor has our research revealed, any decisions that have addressed the issue.”
“[T]he dog sniff was conducted on the exterior of defendant’s truck while she was lawfully seized for a traffic violation. . . . Under Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405 (2005) the dog sniff in the present case was not a search subject to the fourth amendment because it did not ‘“compromise any legitimate interest in privacy.”’ See id. at 408 (quoting Jacobsen, 466 U.S. at 123).
“The set-up procedure at issue in this case is analogous to the luggage ‘prepping’ procedure approved by the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Viera, 644 F.2d 509 (5th Cir. 1981). In [that case] Drug Enforcement Administration agents ‘prepped’ the defendants’ suitcases before a dog sniff by pressing them lightly with the hands and slowly circulating the air, the purpose of which was to procure a scent from the bags. Viera, 644 F.2d at 510. The Fifth Circuit rejected the defendants’ argument that the ‘prepping’ procedure was a search in violation of the fourth amendment, holding that a dog sniff is not a search within the meaning of the fourth amendment and that a light press of the hands along the outside of the suitcases was not sufficiently intrusive to require a different result. Id.
“Similarly, in the present case, a dog sniff is not a search within the meaning of the fourth amendment, and ordering defendant to roll up her windows and turn the blowers on high before conducting the dog sniff was not sufficiently intrusive to require a different result.” Three judges dissented.
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