Skip to comments.Dog's bad nose prompts judge to toss drug case
Posted on 11/19/2008 5:27:12 PM PST by Chet 99
Dog's bad nose prompts judge to toss drug case
By Todd Ruger
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 1:32 p.m. Last Modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 1:35 p.m.
MANATEE COUNTY Another circuit judge threw out evidence in a drug possession case, ruling that a narcotics-sniffing dogs nose was not reliable enough to justify searching a vehicle.
Matthew McNeal is the second Manatee County defendant to escape drug possession charges this year because Talon, a now-retired K-9 from the Palmetto Police Department, alerted to the odor of drugs in a car and officers used that to search it.
Defense attorneys have shown Talon alerted that there were drugs in almost every vehicle he checked, yet officers found drugs fewer than half the time.
That track record means Talons nose was not accurate enough to justify a search McNeals car, Circuit Judge Diana Moreland wrote in a ruling issued Nov. 12.
Prosecutors have no case without being able to show a jury the oxycodone and methadone that officers say they eventually found in McNeals glove compartment. They are appealing Morelands ruling.
McNeals attorney, Gregory Hagopian of Bradenton, said Talon is not trained to tell the difference between the actual odor of marijuana and the residual odor, which could hang around for months.
You cant be searching people for something that was in there four months ago, Hagopian said. This dog is going to hit on almost every car and every citizen could be yanked out of their car and have it searched.
The sniffing abilities of dogs like Talon are becoming the focus of drug cases in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Defense attorneys say the dogs are not accurate enough at finding drug caches to justify police searches.
Challenging those searches is the best way to beat a drug possession or drug trafficking charge. If defense attorneys can show a dog has a spotty track record, they can have the evidence against their clients thrown out of court.
Then how did the dog smell????
Thanks to Monty Python ....
I’ve always thought this thing about tossing evidence is just wrong. If someone has the drugs, they have the drugs. There’s got to be another way to keep cops from searching illegally.
“Defense attorneys have shown Talon alerted that there were drugs in almost every vehicle he checked...”
Maybe the dog was trained to alert to steel belted radials instead of drugs.
How about we actually charge a few who engage in illegal searches under 18 USC 242 and toss them in jail for a decade or so.
Oh I forgot...these are cops we're talking about.
“Theres got to be another way to keep cops from searching illegally.”
There is, charge them with an illegal search if they don’t find drugs.
Thought I had something original but I was a day late it appears.
Our idea would only result in cops finding (aka planting) more evidence.
I think I have something wrong with me.
Here, you smell this please?
Dam’nfoolishness. It really boils down simply:
Q: Did Talon detect drugs?
Q: Did the scroats have the drugs?
Q: Is Talon a reliable detector of drugs?
A: Yes, this time he certainly was.
Result: You’re under arrest, scroat! Gooddog, Talon! Yer a GoodBoy!
The Judge doesn't seem to know much about dogs.
But it sounds like the police department lost the evidence after the fact. So, no evidence = no conviction.
Sloppy chain of custody procedures, or did the cops sell the drugs for extra cash?
Damnfoolishness. It really boils down simply:
Q: Did JBT think there might be something illegal happening in your house?
Q: Did the JBT find anything illegal inside?
Q: Is JBT a reliable detector of all things illegal?
A: Yes, this time he certainly was.
Result: Youre under arrest, scroat! Gooddog, JBT! Yer a GoodBoy!
...now...using your own words...tell us again how this is all legal and you would support the above action on you and your home and how it is NOT the actions of an out of control police state, depriving the free men of their rights.
Can’t wait to read your well thought out reply.
I’m sure it begins with something like “well, if you have nothing to hide...”...right?
Do you understand the concept of “false positive”?
Sounds like the dog is too accurate.
It’s detecting lingering odors after the drugs are gone.
> Do you understand the concept of false positive?
Yes. In this case it can be argued that there wasn’t a false positive, as there were drugs.
What is a JBT?
>Maybe the dog was trained to alert to steel belted radials instead of drugs.<
Or, perhaps the dog has learned that if he “alerts” to a car, he gets to go in and rip the interior to shreds. Some dogs get motivated by the sheer act of pulling and biting. It’s due to poorly directed prey drive.
> Cant wait to read your well thought out reply.
> Im sure it begins with something like well, if you have nothing to hide......right?
Well... no. On the off-chance that “JBT” means ‘Jack-Booted Thug’ then there is a problem with your analogy.
It would work if there were equivalency between the dog and the JBT. But there isn’t.
The dog has olefactory senses that are many orders of magnitude greater than the JBT. And it is trained to use these senses to detect drugs.
The JBT isn’t, and never can be.
It is reasonable to believe that the dog detects something when it reacts to a scent it interprets to be drugs. In this scenario it is possible that the dog’s senses were *too* well tuned, perhaps in the past picking up on trace scents on vehicles which used to contain drugs, but no longer did.
A JBT, however, would never have reasonable cause to search a car for drugs because it would never be reasonable to believe that he detected the scent of drugs.
Thus your analogy fails the “equivalence” test.