Post details: MN holds RS required to detain a package in transit for a dog sniff under state constitution

12/05/13

Permalink 07:44:18 am, by fourth, 606 words, 390 views   English (US)
Categories: General

MN holds RS required to detain a package in transit for a dog sniff under state constitution

Reasonable suspicion is not required to pick up a package on the shipper’s conveyor belt just to look at it, but it is required to detain it. Here, the detention for a dog sniff required RS under the state constitution, but it was present. The court declines to follow federal precedent. State v. Eichers, 840 N.W.2d 210 (Minn. App. 2013):

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We also agree that, under Minn. Const. art. I, § 10, the narcotics dog sniff was a search that required reasonable, articulable suspicion that the package contained contraband. See State v. Davis, 732 N.W.2d 173, 175-76 & n.5 (Minn. 2007) (holding that narcotics dog sniff of common hallway outside defendant's apartment was a search that required reasonable, articulable suspicion under Minn. Const. art. I, § 10); State v. Carter, 697 N.W.2d 199, 202 (Minn. 2005) (holding that narcotics dog sniff outside self-storage unit was a search within the meaning of Minn. Const. art. I, § 10, and required reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity); State v. Wiegand, 645 N.W.2d 125, 127-28, 136 (Minn. 2002) (holding that narcotics dog sniff around exterior of motor vehicle stopped for routine equipment violation required reasonable, articulable suspicion of drug-related criminal activity under U.S. Const. amend. IV and Minn. Const. art. I, § 10); State v. Baumann, 759 N.W.2d 237, 239 (Minn. App. 2009) (citing Davis and Carter, noting that use of narcotics dog sniff in common hallway of apartment building to determine presence of narcotics in apartment unit was a search that required reasonable, articulable suspicion under Minn. Const. art. I, § 10), review denied (Minn. Mar. 31, 2009).

We conclude that the narcotics dog sniff was a search that required reasonable, articulable suspicion that the package contained contraband after considering the competing interests of the government to inspect for narcotics and an individual's expectation of privacy and freedom from governmental intrusion. See Davis, 732 N.W.2d at 181 ("[T]he government has a significant interest in using narcotics-detection dogs in combating drug crimes and ... the public's interest in effective criminal investigations [is] served through the use of this investigative tool." (quotation omitted)); see also Florida v. Jardines, 133 S. Ct. 1409, 1418, 185 L. Ed. 2d 495 (2013) (Kagan, J., concurring) ("[D]rug-detection dogs are highly trained tools of law enforcement, geared to respond in distinctive ways to specific scents so as to convey clear and reliable information to their human partners. They are to the poodle down the street as high-powered binoculars are to a piece of plain glass. Like the binoculars, a drug-detection dog is a specialized device for discovering objects not in plain view (or plain smell)." (citation omitted)); Carter, 697 N.W.2d at 211 n.8 ("We specifically limit our decision to sniffs of drug-detecting dogs. We express no opinion regarding bomb-detection dogs, as to which the special needs of law enforcement might well be significantly greater.").

IV. The officer had reasonable, articulable suspicion that the airmail package contained contraband when he seized it for the purpose of subjecting it to a narcotics dog sniff and searched it with the assistance of the narcotics dog.

Eichers argues that Officer Meyer lacked reasonable, articulable suspicion that the airmail package contained contraband when Officer Meyer seized it for the purpose of subjecting it to a narcotics dog sniff and searched it with the assistance of the narcotics dog. The district court agreed with Eichers, concluding that Officer Meyer "did not have a reasonable, particularized basis to support his impression that the parcel contained contraband"; that Officer Meyer's "brief detention [of the package] for closer non-invasive inspection ... [did] not deprive the carrier of custody or delay delivery [and did] not constitute a seizure and need not be justified by reasonable suspicion"; and that "reasonable suspicion was not necessary to justify the dog sniff." We disagree.

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