Special Constitutional privileges for dogs?

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is designed to reserve the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and prevent their property from being searched without a warrant appropriately issued and justified by probable cause. 

However, some court rulings have claimed that searches made on the voluntary initiative of a police dog trained to smell out drugs does not violate this right, as in this recent event in Texas, where a teen’s car was searched inside and out by a police dog – all without a warrant.  While the driver claims his rights were violated, the policeman involved has argued that it was the dog’s choice to conduct the search, a fact which made what would otherwise look very much like a search not a search, and therefore legal.  This line of argument leads us inevitably to the conclusion that the dog possesses some sort of supra-constitutional authority – or, more likely, that the Fourth Amendment has simply been violated once again.

Published in

Post a comment