The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect’s property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search, a decision which may limit how investigators use dogs’ sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell.
The high court split 5-4 on the decision to uphold the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out evidence seized in the search of Joelis Jardines’ Miami-area house. That search was based on an alert by Franky the drug dog from outside the closed front door. The defendant was susequently charged with trafficking in marijuana.
Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government’s gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage.
“The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home,” Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority. “And the officers here had all four of their feet and all four of their companion’s, planted firmly on that curtilage — the front porch is the classic example of an area intimately associated with the life of the home.”
For years, the Santiesteban family ran an elaborate marijuana growing operation — from planting seeds under hydroponic lights to harvesting the potent plants and hauling them to New York to sell — with at least 17 grow houses scattered across Miami-Dade, federal prosecutors said.
They set up surveillance cameras, hired caretakers to guard their crops, and when family members identified a robber who had ripped off 30 plants, they helped kidnap him, prosecutors said. The man was shot and beaten to death, his body dumped on a roadway, his van torched in the Everglades.
On Tuesday, law enforcement agents finally shut down the massive operation — charging six family members and 10 others with conspiracy to distribute drugs — ending one of the largest marijuana enterprises in Miami-Dade.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/06/2836510/feds-indict-16-in-miami-dade-marijuana.html#storylink=cpy
Police say they have discovered 80 to 100 bricks of marijuana on board a boat that washed ashore this morning across from the Palm Beach Country Club on the island’s north end.