Scott Henson notes that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted cert in Florida v. Harris, in which the Florida State Supreme Court overturned a conviction based on a search after a drug dog alert. I haven’t read the case yet, but it sounds like this could be a challenge to Illinois v. Caballes, in which the Court ruled that a sniff test isn’t a search.
The Court didn’t directly address the reliability of drug dogs in that case, although Justice Souter delved into the question in his dissent. That seems to be the focus of what the Court will look at in Harris.
I’ll have a long piece on that Collinsville, Illinois police stop up soon at Huffington Post. It will touch on some of this. I was also able to obtain about a year’s worth of records for one particular Illinois State Police K9 narcotics unit, which I’ll break down in the article. (Spoiler: The dog and its handler were far from infallible.)
In the meantime, here’s a piece I wrote last year for Reason on our mistaken assumptions about drug dogs.