D.Utah: Dog handler’s subjective belief dog alerted unreasonable

The dog handler’s subjective belief that his drug dog alerted is inadequate for a search of a person’s car. United States v. Jordan, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71048 (D. Utah Apr. 21, 2020):

Thus, the finding of probable cause here was based solely on Officer Moore’s subjective interpretation of what he believed Tank’s actions meant. Such a finding cannot be considered “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment, as the Supreme Court has long held that more than such “inarticulate hunches” are necessary in order to permit “intrusions upon constitutionally guaranteed rights,” recognizing that “[i]f subjective good faith alone were the test, the protections of the Fourth Amendment would evaporate, and the people would be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, only in the discretion of the police.” See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 22, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968) (quotations and citations omitted). Indeed, even in the Tenth Circuit, where alerts may be sufficient to support probable cause, a court must find an officer’s testimony that he believed his dog alerted to be credible in order to sustain a finding of probable cause. See Parada, 577 F.3d at 1281.

This entry was posted in Dog sniff, Reasonableness. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.