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Education - The K-9 Sniff Case

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    The K-9 Search Case

    John Jingle v. State of Florida


    TEACHER PACKET: The K-9 Search Case - includes petitioner, respondent, justices, marshal & clerk script and materials.

    WORD File / PDF File

    ***NOTE: Use the Precedent Case Question Sheet (PDF) FIRST (after your 4th amendment discussion) to ask students whether or not they feel these precedent case sniffs are searches. This will help prepare the students mentally to think about what is considered a search and what the court's have ruled regarding dog sniffs. Feel free to provide the answers as you go along, or after you've asked all scenarios.

    Read what one teacher said after participating in this Mock OA.


    CASE FACTS:

    The Miami-Dade County Police Department received a Crime Stoppers tip that marijuana was being grown at the home of John Jingle.  One month later a detective went to Mr. Jingle’s home at 7 a.m.  He watched the home for fifteen minutes. There were no vehicles in the driveway, the blinds were closed, and no observable activity.
               
    After fifteen minutes, the dog handler arrived with the drug detection dog.  The handler placed the dog on a leash and accompanied the dog up to the front door of the home.  The dog alerted to the scent of contraband.
               
    The handler told the detective that the dog had a positive alert for the odor of narcotics.  The detective went up to the front door for the first time, and smelled marijuana.  The detective also observed that the air conditioning unit had been running constantly for fifteen minutes or so, without ever switching off.  (Note: To grow marijuana high intensity light bulbs are used which create heat. This causes the air conditioning unit to run continuously without cycling off.)
               
    The detective applied for a search warrant, which was issued.  While waiting for the search warrant, the home remained under surveillance for several hours by the police department and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the Federal Government. When the search was conducted, police found marijuana growing inside the home. John Jingle was arrested.

    TRIAL COURT PROCEEDINGS & RULING:
    At trial, attorneys for John Jingle filed a motion to suppress the evidence. Jingle’s attorneys argued that the sniff test by the drug dog was an illegal search and it violated Jingle’s Fourth Amendment rights because the police should have had the search warrant BEFORE bringing the drug dog to the house.  The trial court agreed that the evidence was unlawfully obtained and decided that it could not be used at trial.

    THE APPEAL:
    The State of Florida prosecuting Mr. Jingle appealed the trial court’s ruling
    to the District Court of Appeal (DCA). The DCA disagreed with the trial court’s decision stating that no illegal search occurred and the dog sniff test did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The appellate court further stated that the officer had the right to go up to Mr. Jingle’s front door without a warrant to conduct a sniff test. Mr. Jingle is appealing the DCA decision to the Florida Supreme Court who is now ready to hear oral arguments in this case.

    Constitutional Question the Justices Must Answer:

    Is a “sniff test” by a drug detection dog conducted at the front door of a private home considered a “search” under the Fourth Amendment?

    RESOURCES & BACKGROUND MATERIALS:

    Based on the Florida Supreme Court case SC08-2101 - Joelis Jardines v. State of Florida (2011).